Monday, 20 April 2009

Philippine President reiterates belt-tightening directive


Manila (PND) - President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has reiterated her directive to all government agencies and instrumentalities to adopt strict belt-tightening measures and stop all unnecessary and wasteful spending in these “challenging economic times.”

In Administrative Order No. 261, the President pointed out that the government stands to generate P7-billion savings from a “government-wide, one-and-a-half (1.5 percent) reduction of maintenance, overhead and operating expenses.”

She noted that an Independence Day Parade alone costs the government about P30 million. As part of the cost-saving measures, the Independence Day Parade this June 12 will be shelved.

“Instead, a mega-jobs fair shall be organized to enable the 40,000 workers displaced by the global crisis find employment or livelihood,” the AO 261 said.

The government, the President said, “must pour all savings and revenue into programs that help the poor and the middle class.”

AO 261, which the President signed on April 7, is a follow up to Executive Order (EO) No. 782 that she issued earlier this year.

Under EO 782, all government agencies and instrumentalities, including all departments, bureaus, attached agencies, government-owned and controlled corporations and government financial institutions, were directed to reduce their respective maintenance, overhead and operating expense (MOOE) budgets by 1.5 percent.

Savings generated by EO 782 was set aside for emergency employment for the next six months of 2009.

The President stressed that in early 2008, all government agencies and entities were directed to undertake electricity and fuel-saving measures, including but not limited to the consumption of fossil fuels, which was ordered cut down by 25 percent, and electric consumption by at least 10 percent.

Under the EO, air-conditioners should be turned off at 4:30 p.m. except those of offices with 24-hour work, while incandescent bulbs were ordered replaced with compact fluorescent lamp.

Similarly, 20 percent of vehicles owned by the national government were ordered converted to the use of natural gas.

In AO 261, the President directed that vehicles of the national government, including those of GOCCs, which are not “issued to an official and are not on official trip, shall be garaged in the agency office, and the keys shall be kept by guards, during weekends and holidays.”

The President also enjoined all local government units (LGUs) to adopt the cost-saving measures mandated under both EO 782 and AO 261 and other relevant issuances.

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