Monday, October 19, 2015

Supreme Court: funds for new site, 2016 budget.

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The Supreme Court has been given P1.2 billion for the transfer of its office to The Fort in Taguig City, a House leader said yesterday.

Pasig City Rep. Roman Romulo said the amount was included in the proposed 2016 P3.002-trillion General Appropriations Bill, which was approved on third and final by the House of Representatives before it adjourned on October 9.

“The Supreme Court deserves its own grounds and its own building. We understand the funding will be used to acquire the new land at The Fort,” Romulo said in a statement, adding that the transfer would help decongest Manila.

With more than 3,000 employees, the SC currently holds offices in a building and lot owned by the University of the Philippines at the corner of Padre Faura St. and Taft Ave. in Ermita, Manila.

“The money for the construction of the new Supreme Court building is also already there. It is covered by a P3.29-billion multi-year obligational authority,” Romulo said.

He explained that since the SC transfer is covered by an obligational authority,” the funding requirements of the transfer from 2016 to 2019 are assured.”

An obligational authority is the necessary approval that precedes budget spending by a government agency or department, granted by Congress through appropriations.

Romulo said the initial P122.7 million needed for the project management as well as the detailed architectural and engineering design of the new building is included in the House-approved spending bill.

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes P.A. Sereno earlier expressed hope that they could transfer to their new office by 2019.

Romulo noted that an aggregate new funding of P26.7 billion has been earmarked to the entire Judiciary next year or 22 percent greater than its allocation this year.

This includes P2.3 billion to pay for the operations of lower courts, some of which have become dependent on local governments for facilities, he said.

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