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PIA Press Release

Paglaum Bill up for plenary debate

Iloilo City (14 November) -- House Bill 4824 which contains the Paglaum (Hope) Fund has passed the Committee on Appropriations and will be endorsed for plenary debate.

Task Force Bangon Panay Executive Director and Presidential Assistant Raul Banias said the bill is a consolidation of the three House bills that were filed earlier intended for the integrated rehabilitation and restoration of Western Visayas which was ravaged by typhoon "Frank" last June 21.

House Bill 4842 is principally authored by Congressman Arthur Defensor of the 3rd District of Iloilo and Speaker Prospero Nograles and co-authored by all the Congressmen of Western Visayas.

Among the major provisions of the bill, Banias said is the adjustment in the budget from P15 billion to P8 billion.

"Because of the global economic meltdown President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Rolando Andaya of the Department of Budget and Management through a series of meetings with our Congressmen have agreed that what the national budget could afford right now is only P8 billion - meaning that the proposed budget was substantially reduced from P15 billion but let me also clarify that the budget we passed is a lump sum budget," said Banias.

Despite the cut in the proposed budget, Banias assured that funds for vital projects have been retained.

"The Task Force has worked overtime in revising the budget, we have coordinated closely with agencies on what projects will go and what project to retain. However, let me just assure that funds for vital and major projects have been retained", said Banias.

He cited that the fund for priority projects such as the dredging of Iloilo City's creeks, construction of roads and major bridges and schools, damages in hospitals, vital components for environmental rehabilitation and disaster preparedness are still there.

Banias said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has manifested that as soon as the bill reaches the second reading in the House she will certify it as an urgent bill. (PIA) [top]

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