What will you do if you have an over-all savings of 106 billion from the 2007 government budget as a result of re-enacted budget? Critics to the President accused her administration of causing forced savings from the budgets of certain key departments in order to realign funds for pet projects that may possibly benefit her allies for their campaign funds for their campaign funds during the 2010 presidential election.
Is the allegation correct?
As reported by Gemma Bagayaua posted in abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak allegations of forced savings “arose after lawmakers noticed a provision in the 2009 National Expenditure Program that shows that “Over-all Savings” for the year 2007 amounted to P106 billion, which included P29.9 billion in transfers from the budget of the Department of Education for that year. “
This prompted opposition congressman Teofisto Guingona III to say that, “budgets of certain departments in 2009 (as in 2007) may be deliberately bloated so that they can incur savings. Guingona said this will provide Malacañang with disposable funds that may be redirected to other agencies and may be used to advance political ambitions of certain individuals.”
However Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya pointed out, “If we stepped on the gas then the P106 or so billion would have been added to the deficit posted that year. To call for the release of this money is to become an apostle of unmanageable deficits,” he said in defending. the amount posted under “Over-All Savings.”
Further Andaya said that the “expenditure ceiling” for 2007 was P1.136 billion but only P1.012 billion in allotments was released.
But the bureau director from the budget department who explained earlier to the ABS- CBN news correspondent about the bloated savings as a result of re-enacted budget insisted, that said amount could have been released since “there is no law that prevents the budget department from releasing all the new appropriations for the year, including the continuing appropriations from the previous year’s budgets.”
Not Saving at the Expense of Social Service
Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya assured the public that the government is not saving at the expense of Social Services. Well and good, but again the question what will they do with the bloated savings of 106 billion from the 2007 government budget?
There is a perception that the president will get more spending power with re-enacted budget. Prolonging budget deliberations does not in anyway hurt the president. In fact she will be assured of more funds to spend. And when she spends funds transferred to overall savings she spends it in any projects she wishes including those that benefit her allies.
So there is no truth at all to the statement of Budget Secretary Andaya that the government is not saving at the expense of social services. In health services you could just imagine how many medicines to benefit the poor could be purchased with that savings, and how many school buildings could have been constructed to accommodate more pupils in the public schools, etc.
As tax payers, it is my sovereign duty to demand the government to spend wisely the tax payers’ money for the benefit of the public, but not for their own political advantage.