Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday lamented that the proposed P3.98 billion fund earmarked for the housing sector in 2021 is smaller than the intelligence and confidential funds in the entire national budget.
"The total intelligence funds of the whole government under the 2021 budget is over P5 billion. The confidential funds is P4.5 billion," Drilon said during the hearing on the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.
"The intelligence and confidential funds therefore amount to at least P9.5 billion in the entire budget. Contrast that with the P4 billion budget in the housing sector," he added. "I am making this statement preliminarily to show the priorities that we are confronted with in this sector."
The original budget request of the DHSUD for the next fiscal year was P76.19 billion but only a meager P3.98 billion was endorsed by the Department of Budget and Management.
DHSUD Secretary Eduardo del Rosario said the DBM-approved budget for the department and its attached agencies account for only 0.08% of the total national budget.
The DHSUD is asking for an additional P12 billion for the public housing assistance program, operationalization of the agency's central and regional offices, resettlement assistance to local government units and indigenous people, community mortgage program, and the rehabilitation efforts for Marawi City.
The measly budget for the DHSUD and its attached agencies should be increased, according to Drilon.
"There is a consensus, at least among senators attending this hearing, that the housing sector needs assistance because of the very meager budget that is being assigned to you," he said.—AOL, GMA News