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Palace defends P2M SONA budget

  • Written by Efren Montano
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 1694

MALACAÑANG yesterday defended the P2 million budget for the preparations for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday.
   
Presidential communications secretary Sonny Coloma argued that the expenses for the SONA is part of the approved budget for the purpose and in accordance with the law.
   
Coloma also added that the SONA is an annual tradition and part of the regular activity of  Congress, Philippine National Police and the Metro Manila Development Authority.
   
“SONA is an annual event that’s part of regular activities of government bodies and agencies such as House of Representatives, PNP, MMDA. Ang ginagastos sa SONA ay bahagi ng approved budget ng mga ahensya at ang paggastos ay naaayon sa batas,” Coloma said.
   
Earlier, the House of Representatives clarified it is spending about P2.1 million for the preparations for Aquino’s SONA which critics claimed is pompous and extravagant.
   
“This is a yearly constitutional mandate for the President to report to the Filipino people on the national government’s accomplishments, current and new programs for the coming year through the SONA before a joint session of Congress,” said House Secretary General Marilyn Barua-Yap.
   
Under the Constitution, Congress is the policy-making branch of government. It is the national forum for public debates on all issues that concern public interest.
   
Yap said the reported P22-million allocation for the President’s SONA is “an unintentional miss-appreciation of facts.”
   
Last year, some P1.9 million was spent for the SONA.

Reports said the House had been undergoing repairs at the cost of P20 million allegedly in preparation for the SONA and another P2 million for food, SONA kit, identification cards, security, etc.
   
“The renovation within the Batasan complex is a continuing program and implemented mostly when Congress is in recess, not when Congress is in session. The program is just coincidental to the President’s SONA,” Yap clarified.