THREAD: The Senate Finance Committee deliberates on the proposed 2022 budgets of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and attached agencies, Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS)

Updates by our digital producer @pplmanuel Image
NEDA Secretary Karl Chua presents the department's attached agencies. These include PIDS, the Philippine Statistics Authority. Image
NEDA chief Chua presents the department's goals for 2022 classified under socioeconomic policy and planning, national investment programming, national development monitoring and evaluation ImageImageImage
LOOK: NEDA aims to reorganize its Secretariat this 2022 by adding 3 more groups, invest in needed infrastructure like NEDA buildings and ICT systems Image
NEDA chief Chua proposes 3 more groups under his office: Strategy and Results; Monitoring and Evaluation; Legislative, Legal and Institutions. Each group shall have its own undersecretary, bringing the department's total undersecretaries to 7. ImageImage
NEDA proposes a ₱14.12-billion budget for 2022, slightly higher than this year's. The Philippine Statistics Authority gets the biggest chunk at ₱11.1 billion to fund nat'l ID system, censuses, surveys, and other operations under its mandate Image
Senate Finance Committee chairman Sonny Angara praises NEDA Sec. Chua's presentation: I wish you were there for another 6 years rather than just 8 months, there are a lot of good plans there
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon agrees with Sen. Angara's remarks.

NEDA Sec. Chua: Even if I'm not in NEDA, we have very good officials and staff to continue these very good plans they can handle.
NEDA Sec. Chua says Panay-Guimaras Bridge among flagship projects: There was a shift in financing from China to Korea... The feasibility study reported a cost reduction from almost ₱190B to ₱187B.
Citing DPWH, NEDA Sec. Chua adds the detailed engineering design will start Oct. 2022: They're in discussion now with Koreans on loan financing
Sen. Drilon expresses disappointment in the project's progress: My people in Region VI expected this because this will improve the lives of people in Guimaras.

The bridge's construction is expected to start in 2025 and finish in 2030.

Sen. Drilon, citing data and reports about PH's economic downturn: Why in Jesus' name are we in this situation today? Please don't give me the answer "because of the pandemic." Other countries have fared better.
NEDA Sec. Chua: In the past, we've been too focused narrowly on COVID and this has led to other consequences like higher joblessness figures, more lower incomes. We've pushed very hard on reopening the economy further.
NEDA Sec. Chua cites efforts to veer away from community-wide quarantines to a COVID-19 alert level system in Metro Manila which also heavily utilizes granular lockdowns
NEDA Sec. Chua says he will meet with DOF, DPWH to review the Panay-Guimaras Bridge's timeline immediately.

Sen. Angara: Every year, we talk about it. As an economist, you must be concerned about opportunity cost, efficiency — this is a display of the opposite.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, who is attending the hearing from the Midwest, recalls his arrival: When I arrived here, I had a face shield. I looked like I came from outer space.
NEDA Sec. Chua notes they don't have a devolution transition plan as it's not required for them: We've aligned our resources, programs to help LGUs.

He says attached agency Population Commission has the said plan.
NEDA Sec. Chua: We have to reorganize ourselves if we are to help RDCs, LGUs better. That's why we're firm in the reorganization of our regional offices.

Sen. Pia Cayetano on eventual resumption of face-to-face classes: There seems to be a lack of inertia in even planning for this
Sen. Cayetano addresses NEDA Sec. Chua: I need your leadership to shine here... We really need to urge people to move in this direction, I don't see the planning [on return of face-to-face classes] happening.
Sen. Cayetano on resumption of face-to-face classes: I keep getting answers why we cannot. Why can't we see why, how we can?
NEDA Sec. Chua: We know the national budget for health, we are less aware of the real local budget for it. We need to see it together.

One thing we can do from our side is work with DBM, DOF to try to see a bigger picture of the health budget.
NEDA Sec. Chua: The idea of recovery is we allow businesses to operate, but we haven't allowed many to do so given heightened quarantine. That's why more firms are affected, why banks are risk-averse to lending.
NEDA Sec. Chua: Once we're able to open, we'll have this most virtuous cycle wherein businesses needing financing or grants will be provided by the financial sector
The Senate Finance Committee ends deliberations on NEDA's proposed 2022 budget and endorses it to the plenary

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