PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Thursday toured the members of his Cabinet inside the newly-renovated Bahay Pangarap, his official residence in the next six years.
The President is in the process of moving-in to the 350-square meter house but there was no exact date of the transfer yet.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the President toured them inside his home with four newly-constructed bedrooms.
“It was the first time I saw Bahay Pangarap. It was elegant but not fancy,” he said.
He added that design of the house was turned from floral into neutral motif.
From the design of architect Manny Dimaculangan, the President's abode now has a guest bedroom and two separate rooms for his close-in security detail and household help. It also has swimming pool and garden.
Lacierda reiterated that official transfer of the President will not be open to media as advised by the Presidential Security Group.
Aside from the tour, Aquino also conducted a special Cabinet meeting inside Bahay Pangarap.
According to Lacierda, the meeting started at 10 a.m. and ended at 2:30. It focused on the proposed fiscal year 2011 budget with a theme of “Tungo sa Tuwid na Paggugol”.
Lacierda however declined to disclose exact budget figures.
“It is fiscally responsible and allocates public expenditures to the priority programs of President Aquino,” he said.
For transparency, Lacierda said that it will require fiscal releases, procurement, and implementation of projects to be posted in the Department of Budget and Management website and also in the websites of the appropriate agencies concerned.
The highest allocation will still be in education with the President deciding to retain the policy on pork barrel.
Lacierda said, as required by the Constitution, the budget has to be submitted in August 25, a month after to the State of the Nation Address of the President.
Malacanang sa Sugbo
On the other hand, the President is yet to decide on what to do with Malacanang sa Sugbo, the official residence of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Cebu City.
Lacierda said that Aquino has ordered Customs commissioner Lito Alvarez to do an inventory on the house as well as other official residences of the former President.
“Right now I know that they are conducting an inventory of all the official residences like the Baguio Mansion House and others,” he said.
President Aquino earlier refused to retain Malacanang sa Sugbo as an official residence when he will visit the Visayas.
Since the building was a property of the Bureau of Customs (BOC), the agency was planning to take it back.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama however disagreed with the BOC's move to convert the structure into a museum displaying the memorabilia of the previous administration.
Malacanang sa Sugbo was restored by former President Arroyo in 2004. It was named after the Malacanang Palace which is the official residence of the President in Manila.
The building was already cleared from the things of former President Arroyo. It was transported back to the Office of Press Secretary and stored in the property division. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)