THE government will be allotting more than P15.5 billion to cover expenses for the country’s hosting of the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit this year.
The Office of the President, whose budget allocation this year has increased 600 percent from 2016, will use the amount to be directly released to five implementing agencies:
Office of the President, P11.07 billion; the Department of Tourism, P749.56 million; the Presidential Communications Operations Office, P1.46 billion; the Department of Trade and Industry, P177.68 million; and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, P2 billion.
In a recent budget hearing, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno explained that the increased allocation for the Asean summit is the reason the OP’s budget swelled for 2017.
The P15.5-billion budget also includes a controversial P2.8-billion contract with a company to handle events management, a deal that came under fire for allegedly violating procurement laws.
The previous administration had created a National Organizing Council that will handle the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year.
The Asean-NOC is composed of the executive secretary and the secretary of Foreign Affairs (for the Asean Political Security Community) as chairpersons; the secretaries of Trade and Industry (for the Asean Economic Community), Social Welfare and Development (for the Asean Socio-Cultural Community), Interior and Local Government, National Defense, and Public Works and Highways as vice chairpersons; and the secretaries of Transportation and Communications, Tourism, Budget and Management, and Presidential Communications Operations Office as members.
Chief Presidential Protocol Ambassador Marciano Paynor shall reprise his role as the chairman of the Asean-Noc Director General, following the success of the Apec hosting that he led as director-general of the APEC National Organizing Committee last 2015.
The commemorative launching of the Philippine chairmanship of Asean will be held Jan. 15 in Davao City, with two summits--the 30th Asean Summit will be held April in Mactan, Cebu, and the 31st Asean Summit shall be held November at Clark Freeport in Pampanga.
During the turn over ceremonies at Vientiane, President Rodrigo Duterte announced the Asean 2017 theme will be “Partnering for change, Engaging the world.”
In accepting the Asean chairmanship, the President said, “We will highlight Asean as a model of regionalism and a global player, with the interest of the people at its core.”
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