There will be no information drive on federalism next year since it is not included in the budget proposal of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, an official said Friday.
“The information drive on federalism won’t proceed in 2020. We do not have a budget for it, PCOO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said.
She was speaking before the House Committee on Appropriations during the budget hearing of the PCOO’s proposed P1.6-billion budget for 2020.
In other developments:
• House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez on Friday backed a higher budget for the Office of the President to further boost President Rodrigo Duterte’s public service to the nation.
“The necessary financial support for the Office of the President is needed to secure the nation and provide better and meaningful service to the people, Romualdez said after the Office of the President’s budget for 2020 was increased by 21 percent more than its 2019 budget of P6.8 billion.
Citing traditional courtesy, the House Committee on Appropriations on Friday swiftly approved the P8.2-billion proposed 2020 budget of the Office of the President.
The whole proceedings took only about six minutes after Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, the committee chairman, moved for the immediate approval of the budget of President Duterte’s office after the budget presentation.
Federalism, one of the key campaign promises of President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 elections, has gone sour halfway in his term.
Analysts had previously told the Manila Standard that Duterte would unlikely fulfill his promise to change the current unitary form of government into a federal one as lawmakers would be setting their sights on the 2022 elections.
The proposed changes in the 1987 Constitution would also be a “hard sell,” they said.
The Duterte administration has proposed a federal form of government composed of 17 regions and financed by their own collection of taxes and fees.
The proposal would also give more power and autonomy to local leaders.
In the 2018 annual audit report on the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Commission on Audit also flagged the PCOO for its failure to liquidate the P10-million budget for the federalism information drive this year.
As of August 2019, the P10-million budget remained unliquidated, according to COA.
The DILG was assigned as the lead agency tasked to undertake a nationwide information campaign on the possible shift to federalism, and it released a P10-million budget to the PCOO through an August 2018 memorandum.
President Duterte was also mum on the passage of federalism during his fourth State of the Nation Address last July.
The information drive also drew flak last year for the lewd video of then PCOO assistant secretary Mocha Uson that went viral on social media. With Maricel V. Cruz and PNA
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