With anti-drug campaign in full swing

TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has asked the regional office of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to brace for higher budget next year in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s thrust on war against drugs. DBM-8 Director Imelda Laceras, at the same time, asked the PDEA regional office to prepare all plans as the national government steps up funding support for its anti-drug programs starting next year.

PDEA’s proposed budget nationwide rose to P1.21 billion for next year from P1 billion in 2016. “There is a positive development as far as the Duterte administration priorities are concerned. There is an increased in budget of agencies involved in crusade against drugs and criminality. The President has the leeway to expand agencies to support his priorities,” Laceras said. The DBM official expressed concerned that PDEA might not be prepared for higher outlay since this was not discussed during their 2017 budget deliberations at the regional level early this year.

“Try to plan for the higher budget like finding properties for offices. We don’t want under spending anymore. We have to fast track the implementation of infrastructure projects by completing the design and program of work this year, bid out in the last quarter of 2016 and award the project early next year,” Laceras said. PDEA Regional Director Edgar Jubay said their office currently rents an apartment at the city’s Marasbaras district at P35,000 monthly. The agency has no provincial offices outside the regional capital.

“Manpower resources are not enough to cover six provinces in the region,” Jubay said. The agency is now finalizing their proposal for a P26 million new building in this city. This will be presented to the Regional Development Council for endorsement. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)