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PIA Press Release

Commentary: Proposed 2009 nat'l budget to keep PGMA's SONA targets on track

Roxas City (30 July) -- The bulk of the proposed P1.4 trillion national budget for 2009 will be allocated for five priority programs of President Arroyo in order to continue in putting her SONA targets on track, according to Cabinet Secretary Silvestre Bello III.

Coming out from a National Economic Development Authority (NEDA)-Cabinet meeting last July 29, a day after the President delivered her State of the Nation Address (SONA), Bello said the government agencies that will be responsible for the programs are the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Agriculture (DA), Education (DepEd), and Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHILHEALTH).

The proposed national budget, which the government will be proposing to Congress, was discussed during that meeting held in Batangas, home-province of newly appointed NEDA Director General Ralph Recto.

In her SONA before the joint session of Congress last July 28, the President enumerated the gains achieved by her administration in the implementation of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT), infrastructures, irrigation, rice production, nautical or Roll On-Roll Off highway, skills training, microfinance.

Earlier, the President has also urged local government units (LGUs) to use a portion of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) differentials released to them for program designed to boost food production in the country in view of the current world food situation.

In particular, the province of Capiz has institutionalized programs including making high-yielding certified seeds available to farmers to support the government efforts.

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) here has started upgrading irrigation system facilities in the province to help boost local rice production.

President Arroyo admitted "we are on a roller coaster ride of oil price hikes, high food prices and looming economic recession in the US and other markets."

"This is a complex time that defies simple and easy solutions," added the President.

However, because tough choices were made, including balancing the budget and adopting the EVAT and other fiscal reforms, the President said the global crisis did not catch us helpless and unprepared.

Recto said the proposed 2009 budget, which is higher than this year's appropriations, was intended to support the President's SONA commitments.

In effect, this would also enable the President to keep her SONA targets on track, not only for this year but more so throughout her term. (PIA-JSC) [top]

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