Opposition solons want to restore the budget cut for DENR

September 16, 2009 12:42 pm 

MANILA, Sept. 16 — Opposition congressmen on Wednesday moved to restore the budget of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which was reduced in the proposed 2010 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Last year, the budget of the DENR was P12.85 billion. It was reduced to only P10.66 billion in the proposed national appropriation for 2010.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano appealed to their colleagues in the House of Representatives to restore the reduced P12.85 billion budget of the DENR.

Rodriguez said it is impossible for the agency to achieve its priorities with only P10.66 billion-budget for 2010.

He said the DENR should focus on forest protection, repair and maintenance of sea vessel and hydrographic survey equipment, forest protection equipment, upland development program, mapping of low lying areas in relation to climate change, dismantling of illegal fish pen in Manila Bay and Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando in Bulacan.

Appearing before the House Committee on Appropriations, DENR Secretary Lito Atienza said 80 percent of its budget will be allocated to the 16 regional offices, four bureaus and the central office.

He said the remaining balance would be shared by the two DENR line bureaus and the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA).

According to Atienza, the budget reduction will affect the watershed rehabilitation, cadastral survey, upland development program, extended continental shelf delimitation, biodiversity conservation, and the dismantling of fish pens.

The implementation of the Clean Water Act, the conduct of studies on climate change and rise in sea level, forest protection, implementation of the ecological solid waste management act, and foreign-assisted and locally-funded development projects will also be affected by the budget cut, he said.

Atienza said the regional offices, staff bureaus and central office would experience the biggest decrease in budget.

He said it would be more difficult for the department to implement its mandate, vision and mission with the budget that the DBM has submitted to Congress.

"The budget cut would not totally get in the way of the performance of their duties and responsibilities. It may slow us down a bit, but still the department would perform," he said. (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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