Friday, March 6, 2009

Q150 Million for the Army

The Congress agreed to approve a national emergency measure with more than 105 votes to amend the budget and eliminate bans on the transfer of resources between different governmental entities. The Patriot Party (PP) had been opposing the measure but gave in when the measure was modified to include a contribution of Q150 million to modernize and professionalize the army. The Q150 million was taken from funds originally allocated to NGOs.

After three failed attempts in full session, legislators got the necessary votes at a meeting of the Finance Committee, chaired by Mario Taracena, which granted the motion to include the PP input to the Ministry of Defense, and offered to Libertad Democrática Renovada Q6 million allocated to the Asociación Civil Mi Dulce Refugio, for the construction and maintenance of nursing homes.

"We understood that the government needed to make this reform for the poor. In addition, it includes a contribution of Q150 million for the army, allowing you to expand the military bases in the country and meet one of the problems that most affects the population: the insecurity," said Roxana Baldetti, head of the PP caucus.

The Ministry of Defense has a budget this year of Q1.207 billion, which is now augmented by the Q150 million.

"We call for the surrender [of the funds] to the army, because people no longer trust the National Civil Police, and instead are clamoring for the institution that will ensure security," argued the legislator.

Now the president may reduce or transfer the resources of the Ministries of Communications and Culture, the National Fund for Peace, List of Geographical Works and any program to public safety. All these budgets amount to over Q18 billion.

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