Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Budget hearings for gov't shelter agencies, delayed due to 'no show' of agency heads

* From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran

Reference: Rep. Crispin Beltran

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

Tel. # (+632) 931-6615 Email: crispinbeltran@gmail.com

URL: http://www.geocities.com/ap_news

February 14, 2006

*Budget hearings for gov't shelter agencies, delayed due to 'no show' of
agency heads, Rep. Beltran expresses dismay over simultaneous absences*

* *

Simultaneous absences by the heads of various government shelter
agencies during
yesterday's Committee on Appropriations' Sub-Committee on Housing prompted
Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran to express dismay over the 'no show' that
effectively delayed the sub-committee's budget deliberations.

The Sub-Committee on Housing, headed by Quezon City Rep. Nanette Castelo
Daza, postponed the deliberations and approval of the P1 billion proposed
budget for the National Housing Authority (NHA) and government shelter
agencies after the simultaneous absences of agency heads expected to attend
the hearings, including NHA General Manager Federico Laxa.

Rep. Beltran said that "the presence of officials such as Laxa and HUDCC
Chair Noli de Castro was clearly needed at the hearings in order to shed
light on serious allegations by various urban poor groups. These include
reported anomalies within the NHA and counts of human rights violations in
the course of implementing the Northrail and Southrail projects."

"These officials have yet to answer for why projects such as the Northrail
are being unjustly railroaded when sufficient funds for the relocation of
those displaced have not even been secured. They also have yet to explain
why these projects are being implemented at the cost of miring our country
further in foreign debt," Beltran said.

"The P1 billion NA budget also has yet to be fully explained by these
officials, as this allocation is far too small to significantly address the
worsening problem of homelessness and poverty," he added.

"Although the Sub-Committee later learned from HUDCC Chair Noli de Castro
that the agency heads had a board meeting at the same time as the hearing,
they did not inform the Committee formally. It is unfortunate that they are
bypassing the procedures and undermining the importance of these hearings in
deference to other matters. Their actions, whether deliberate or not,
continue to evade the search for truth with regards to the housing
controversies and anomalies related to the Arroyo administrations
controversial rail projects," he said. ###


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