Back to Home | Back to Breaking News

Legarda Leads Landmark Budget for 2016, Highlights Inclusive, Sustainable, Resilient Dev’t

November 23, 2015

Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, presented today the proposed 2016 national budget worth P3.002 Trillion that aims to proactively address the impacts of climate change and disasters and promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

“This budget is not budget as usual. For many years now I have been consistently advocating for a paradigm shift in the way we do governance and how we promote development,” said Legarda.

 

“Faced with the threats of climate change, extreme weather events are now the new normal, we cannot be victims as usual, so we cannot have a budget as usual. We need a budget that not only responds to the basic needs of our citizens but also proactively addresses the risks that threaten the very basic needs we aim to provide our people. We have worked to make this a budget that will promote inclusive growth. We have provided very specific line items that are responsive to the needs of fisherfolks and coastal communities, farmers, rural folks, indigenous communities,” she stressed.

 

Legarda said that programs, projects and activities for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation and mitigation (CCAM) have been lodged in different agencies of government amounting to P87.9 billion or 4.11 percent of the total new appropriations under the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

The Senator also said that the budget is aligned with the new sustainable development goals (SDGs). Although it is not expected that the global targets will be achieved sooner, she called on government agencies to align their budget for 2017 with the SDGs. “We must all be forward-looking and think long-term lest we remain forever a developing nation,” Legarda emphasized.

 

Proving the promise that “inclusive growth” is not just lip service, Legarda also said that the national budget “have provided very specific line items that are responsive to the needs of fisherfolks and coastal communities, farmers, rural folks, indigenous communities. We introduced amendments that will support 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities and barangays in the country.”

 

Among other noteworthy amendments and provisions in the budget are:

 

  • The deletion of all provisions referring to the budget priorities framework that authorizes department heads to reallocate funding “because only the Congress has the power to approve fund allocations for government programs.”

 

  • The House of Representative has introduced a provision which states that the availability of appropriations for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay (CO) will be for two years. The Senate supports this amendment.

 

  • The bulk of amendments and new provisions is aimed towards ensuring the resilience of our communities to natural hazards and climate change. For instance, critical public infrastructure must be designed and built to be resilient to earthquake, typhoon, flood and other extreme weather events. In retrofitting bridges and other public infrastructure, the government shall give priority to areas considered to be highly vulnerable to seismic activity.

 

  • DRR and CCAM programs must be in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, the Philippines’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) submitted in relation to the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties, and the SDGs, pursuant to the Climate Change Act of 2009, as amended by the People’s Survival Fund Act of 2012, and the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (PDRRM) Act of 2010.

 

  • All government agencies and offices and LGUs must earmark a portion of their budget to ensure that protection of biological diversity is integrated and mainstreamed into their development projects and programs.

 

Legarda also said that the Senate supports the House’s allocation of 4.773 Billion Pesos for the payment of the total administrative disability (TAD) pension for surviving spouses of deceased World War II veterans and partial payment for TAD pension for living post-war veterans who are at least 80 years of age as of 2016.

 

“This is long overdue. Our war veterans have served our country well by putting their lives on the line and it is a shame for a nation not to honor its valiant soldiers with adequate and timely compensation,” she said.

 

In closing, Legarda said, “Development is good, but development without conscience destroys our communities. It cannot be development at all costs. I want to leave a legacy budget that is socially inclusive, gender sensitive, climate adaptive, attuned towards reducing disaster risks, and that mainstreams culture and heritage in every department, something that is also sensitive and responsive to the needs of the vulnerable sectors of our population,” Legarda concluded.