Two House bills recently signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, both principally authored by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Karlo Nograles of the first district of Davao City, will need some creative planning for funds to be made available to them.
Republic Act 11037 and Republic Act 11039, or the “Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act,” and the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Act, respectively, are both key components of the administration’s program to develop rural areas and alleviate poverty.
Nograles said he did not want the two new laws to be bogged down by a lack of funding, which has happened multiple times in the past. He and committee members have promised to work doubly hard to make sure funds are allotted for both.
RA 11037 in 2018 will be funded by P5.3 billion allotted to the Department of Education, along with another P3.4 billion for the supplemental feeding program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
For RA 11039, an initial budget of P750 million has been allotted this year. Nograles noted typhoons and other natural calamities like earthquakes could often cause severe damage to power lines. Unless power is restored soonest, local economies can be seriously battered. Moreover, the health of residents of areas without electricity for extended periods can be negatively affected.
As for the feeding program, many past administrations had their own versions of the pro-poor program, but almost all petered out after a while because they were not sustainable. Under Nograles’s program, the problem of sustainability is addressed with an additional component, where school grounds are turned into vegetable gardens called “Gulayan sa Paaralan.”
The Davao lawmaker is driven in making sure that the two new laws do not end up as white elephants.
Nograles said he was aware that he faced real challenges in finding funds for the two laws.