Public order, peace fund up by P8 billion next year
Manila (5 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said today the national allocation for public order and safety will be increased by more than P8 billion from this year's P64.9 billion to P73.3 billion in 2008 to beef up the capabilities of government law-enforcement agencies as guardians of peace, order and public safety.
The President also directed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to prioritize the construction of a new prison in Quezon City to decongest the existing city jail.
"In 2008, the budget for public order and safety will be increased from this year's P64.9 billion to P73.3 billion" under the budget proposal submitted by Malacanang to Congress, the President said.
The Chief Executive disclosed the hike in the public order and safety appropriation at the joint Pulong Bayan of five barangays in Novaliches this morning.
The President motored to Novaliches as part of her Metro Manila barangay visits.
She said P1 billion of the additional budget will be spent on new firearms and vehicles for the Philippine National Police (PNP), recruitment of new policemen and the purchase of new crime equipment to bolster PNP's investigative capability.
Dressed in sleeveless knee-length dress and matching sequined sandals, the President said that the country is getting closer to its 2010 target of one policeman for every 500 residents.
"Palapit na tayo sa ating target na magtalaga ng isang pulis bawat 500 katao pagsapit ng 2010. Sa dalawampung libong pulis na nadagdag ngayong taon, may (ratio ng) isang pulis na…para sa 620 katao."
"Lalo pang dadami ang pulis sa susunod na taon, at may 500 pang patrol cars na bibilhin," she added.
Reporting to the President on peace and order situation in the country, DILG Undersecretary Melchor Rosales said all index crimes – crimes against persons and property -- are "on a downturn." Even street crimes, he said, were down 15 percent.
The President also directed DILG Secretary Ronaldo Puno to prioritize the construction of a new prison for Quezon City to decongest the existing city jail.
Puno said funds for the project were already available but that the DILG was still awaiting word from the Quezon City government on the exact site of the proposed building.
For his part, Quezon City Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista said the local government unit (LGU) has already selected an area for the structure, but that city officials were still negotiating with land owners on the purchase of the lots.
During her barangay visit, the President also awarded 125 livelihood-training scholarship vouchers to each of the five barangays through their respective barangay chairmen: Rolando del Cruz for Brgy. San Bartolome, Rogelio Juan, Brgy. Talipapa; Carlito Bernardino, Brgy. Bagbag; Ernesto Tanigue, Brgy. Gulod, and Francisco Vitug Sr., Brgy. Sauyo.
She also turned over certificates to operate "Tindahan Natin" to some residents in the five barangays, one unit multicab from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), and a police mobile car to Quezon City Police Station 4 in Novaliches.
Puno told the barangay chairmen that subject to the availability of funds, they could now hire more tanods. The DILG will release guidelines on the allocation of barangay funds to hire more than 20 tanods each -- the old ceiling in the hiring of tanods.
He added that the DILG is hoping to create one police precinct per barangay at a uniform one policeman to 600 population ratio.
Also present during the Pulong Bayan was QC Rep. Annie Susano, who said she will prioritize livelihood projects for her barangays; PNP Chief Oscar Calderon; and National Anti-Poverty Commission head Ding Panganiban. (OPS) [top]