Militants question P1.1 B billion MMDA budget for Manila Bay clean up

Militants question P1.1 B billion MMDA budget for Manila Bay clean up

The fisherfolk activist group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday vowed to question the P 1.1 billion budget allocated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in connection with the Manila Bay clean up.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said his group will prepare a position paper opposing the huge public fund allocated by Malacañang and will submit once the House of Representatives discusses the 2010 national budget pertaining to MMDA and the Manila Bay clean up.

“The clean up should be undertaken collectively and separately by local government units situated along the bay, together with concerned government agencies. The MMDA should be taken out of the picture since its functions overlap with the functions of government agencies and local government units. The best thing to do is to abolish the MMDA,” said Hicap.

“P 1.1 billion is P 1.1 billion. This will make the MMDA the government’s super agency in the National Capital Region. Given its notorious records of high crimes of corruption, daily political arrogance and extreme brutality, the proposed budget for MMDA’s Manila Bay clean up will make it an uncontrollable monster in 2010,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said the huge budget allocated for the MMDA could be one the compelling reasons why the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suddenly inked a pact with MMDA, to maximize not only its human resources, but as well the huge funds allocated to it for counter-insurgency operations and urban militarization.

“The P1.1 billion MMDA budget is really a mouth-watering banana for the AFP. The military can exploit the people of MMDA and its resources,” he added.

Pamalakaya said instead of giving MMDA the lion’s share in the budget for Manila Bay clean up, Metro Manila lawmakers and local government units representing all cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region should call for the abolition of the authority.

“National and local candidates who will call for the abolition of MMDA will earn the respect and the desired votes from Metro electorates. It is an electoral agenda voters from all classes A,B,C,D and E will support. It is winning electoral piece for 2010,” the group observed.

DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya said the government has allocated over one billion pesos, P 848 million for MMDA’s solid waste disposal and management and another P 250 million for the relocation of informal settlers on open waterways in Metro Manila for a grand total of P 1.098 billion for the clean up of Manila Bay.

Andaya said, the MMDA will spend P 223-million for operational support, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of flood control systems, P 100 million for the mitigation of floods in the Gil Puyat Avenue-South Superhighway Area. The authority will also allot P 58 million for flood control and drainage projects in Metro Manila, and another P 50-million for urgent flood control projects.

The P 1.1 billion allocation for MMDA is part of the P 1.6 billion the government had alloted for the Manila Bay clean up. Pamalakaya said the P 1.1 billion for MMDA will be used to demolish fisherfolk and bay people, as well as hundreds of thousands of urban poor families along Pasig River in response to the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay. #

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