With budget deliberations in the House of Representatives (HOR) on hold because of clashing views on the cash-based budgeting system being pushed by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), electric cooperative groups on Thursday called on legislators to close ranks behind House Appropriations Committee Chair Karlo “Ang Probinsyano” Nograles.
According to the electric cooperative groups, the Davao solon’s efforts to defend “the people’s budget” and restore the budgets of slashed government programs like the sitio electrification program “deserve the full support of Congress.”
In an interview at the first Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA)-Philippine Federation of Electric Cooperatives (PHILFECO) convention in General Santos City, PHILRECA President Presley De Jesus said Nograles “has shown that he understands the impact of electrification in the countryside and how this can benefit his fellow probinsyanos.”
“Now we learn that the DBM is cutting funding for electrification, health, and even education.”
“We hope his colleagues follow his lead and work to restore the budgets of agencies like the NEA (National Electrification Administration). How can the President fulfill his promise to completely energize his country within his term if the target number of sitios for electrification is substantially reduced?” said De Jesus.
In a separate media interview, Nograles revealed that the target number of sitios to be energized has been slashed from 1,817 to 775, and that NEA was one of the agencies that had suffered budget cuts in the 2019 national budget, as its funds were slashed by P654 million or from P1.8 billion in 2018 to P1.1 billion pesos in 2019.
According to National Association of General Managers of Electric Cooperatives (NAGMEC) president Sergio Dagooc, the House leadership “should stand their ground” together with Nograles until the DBM is willing to properly fund the programs of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We hope his colleagues follow his lead and work to restore the budgets of agencies like the NEA.”
“Tama si Rep. Nograles, kami at mga consumers namin, we are all paying more taxes because of TRAIN, may expectations kami na gagamitin ang pera namin para sa infra programs tulad ng build, build, build,” said Dagooc.
“Now we learn that the DBM is cutting funding for electrification, health, and even education; tama lang na ipaglaban ni Rep. Nograles at ng liderato ng House ang tamang budget because at stake is the welfare of the people in the areas they represent. They should not resume budget deliberations until the budgets of these crucial services are restored,” Dagooc added.