Recto seeks P15-B add'l ‘standby fund’ for Marawi

By Azer Parrocha

October 9, 2017, 7:36 pm

MANILA -- Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is proposing a PHP15 billion ‘standby fund’ for Marawi reconstruction on top of the PHP10 billion that is already in the 2018 national budget bill.

Recto, in a statement, said the additional PHP15 billion can be included in the Unprogrammed Appropriations portion of the PHP3.76 trillion spending measure.

This way, Recto said, it would cancel the need for the passage of a supplemental appropriation bill in the event that the PHP10 billion for Marawi is not enough or has been spent before yearend.

Under budget laws, Recto said that amounts authorized under Unprogrammed Appropriations can only be released when tax and non-tax revenues exceed collection goals or if loans for a particular activity are secured.

He described the Unprogrammed Appropriations, which is pegged at PHP75.34 billion for 2018, as a “hidden big ticket item."

According to Recto, the biggest item in the Unprogrammed Appropriations is for the so-called "risk management" for which PHP30 billion is authorized to cover maturing obligations and other government commitments under various Public Private Partnership projects.

"We can rearrange, revise the components of the unprogrammed fund to accommodate the needs of Marawi, which must be prioritized," Recto said.

Recto said anew that Marawi has given Mindanao "knowledge and power" worth hundreds of billions of pesos over the years.

"Let us always keep in mind that Marawi is the capital of the province where Lanao Lake is, which is the source of about 40 percent of Mindanao's power supply," Recto said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had announced that "at least PHP50 billion" will be needed to rebuild Marawi. (PNA)