BBM to ‘overhaul’ government budgets for health and education

President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has ordered a review of the budgets of various government agencies so that some funds can be “recast” to the health and education sectors, new Secretary of Labor Bienvenido said on Tuesday. Laguesma.

Marcos issued the directive at a recent meeting, Laguesma said. He did not say when the meeting took place and who attended, but the future Labor leader was among new Cabinet secretaries under the so-called economic cluster who met the president-elect on Monday.

Socio-economic planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan, who was also present at the meeting, said on Tuesday that agriculture and manufacturing would be among the priority sectors for the new administration.

“The purpose of this [meeting] is to make sure that we can get started as soon as we take office in July… (we were) meeting basically to identify programs and projects that we can launch quickly and also prepare a longer-term priority,” said Balisacan in an interview with the ANC.

“We have all agreed that our priorities will be agriculture, manufacturing and the intention to increase productivity,” he said.

Balisacan, the outgoing chairman of the Philippine Competition Commission, is Marcos’ choice to become the next chief executive of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In an interview last month, Marcos said he would fix the country’s value chain to bring down the price of rice.

The value chain refers to the series of steps involved in producing a product or service that is sold to consumers, with each step adding to the value of the product or service.

The president-elect also said he asked traders to freeze rice prices.

Meanwhile, Marcos Jr. received courtesy calls from German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel, Spanish Ambassador Jorge Moragas and Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Rida El Fassi at BBM headquarters in Mandaluyong City.

The President-elect and Reiffenstuel discussed issues on human rights, food security, climate change and renewable energy, among others.

“There is one important thing that President-elect Bongbong Marcos has ordered, to review and recast the budgets of the various departments if possible, and to reallocate government resources available this time from 2022 to sectors involved in health. and education,” Laguesma told ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo.

Reports that many Filipinos cannot read and write prompted the president-elect’s directive, Laguesma said.

He said the meeting also touched on the importance of teaching good manners in schools “to develop our preparedness and strengthen the moral fiber of society”.

Vice President-elect Sara Duterte-Carpio will oversee the Department of Education, which is responsible for the K-12 curriculum taught to more than 27 million students.

The agency is also trying to improve the quality of education following the Philippines’ poor reputation in international learning assessments, and is gradually reopening schools for in-person classes, which were banned in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The administration of Marcos Jr.¹ will face challenges such as economic and employment recovery, food supply issues, and rising debt and inflation.

During a press briefing after his private meeting with Marcos, Reiffenstuel said that apart from strengthening cooperation between their two countries, they also discussed global challenges, including food security and climate change.

“We exchanged (views) on ongoing bilateral cooperation and cooperation in the international framework in multilateral formats, and discussed potentials for deepening cooperation not only on mutual interests but also to address global challenges. like climate change,” the German envoy told reporters. .

She briefed the new president on Germany’s ongoing programs to help the Philippines fight climate change, including their €25 million donation for climate change-related projects.

They also discussed Marcos’ priority projects regarding food security.

“I briefed him on the upcoming International Ministerial Conference on World Food Security, this is also in the context of the impact of the Russian war against Ukraine with regard to challenges on world food security,” she noted.

They also addressed safeguarding the rule of law and human rights.

“We discussed Germany’s continued commitment to protecting human rights and safeguarding the rule of law,” Reiffenstuel told reporters after meeting Marcos.

“I also underlined the importance that Germany attaches to the rule of law and the safeguarding of human rights, as well as our continued commitment to this,” she said.

“In this context which I also mentioned, the (continued) German support, contribution and funding of the joint UN human rights program here in the Philippines,” she added.

They also focused their discussion on renewable energy, which is part of Marcos’ campaign promises to provide lower electricity rates to the people.

“Renewable energies are of course of great importance for us, for Germany, and we exchanged on the experiences and the commitment and the distributions and the shares of renewable energies in the electrical protections of our two countries”, she added.

The Ambassador noted that Marcos illustrated his early commitment to renewable energy by mentioning the Ilocos Norte wind farm, and they agreed that there was a need to continue to deepen the discussions as it was a area of ​​mutual interest.

Regarding the maritime sector, Reiffenstuel said she and Marcos discussed their interest in protecting the country’s seas by enforcing the rule of law.

“We are talking and we are exploring our common interest, our common interest in protecting the rules-based international order and the rule of law which must also be involved in the maritime sector. We have not gone into details, but we realized that we had a common interest in continuing the cooperation,” she said.

Marcos and the German envoy also spoke about global food security, which has been heavily affected by the war between Russia and Ukraine. With Mervin Vince Lopez

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