MANILA (Mabuhay) – Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares believes the Aquino administration has as much as P500 billion in savings to date.
Colmenares said the government had P223 billion in savings in 2013. He said the National Expenditure Program (NEP) also listed some P257 billion in funds for 2014.
The lawmaker said the savings could easily have gone to the disbursement acceleration program of Malacanang if it had not been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
“Malaki pala pwede na DAP based sa sinubmit na NEP ng Malacanang. Bakit kailangan mangutang? Napakalaki savings, P500 billion na savings 2013 at 2014,” he said.
Aside from government’s savings, Colmenares also intends to ask the government about its proposed redefinition of savings and the lump sum items in the proposed 2015 national budget.
As much as P500 billion in lump sum special purpose funds are present in the proposed budget.
Colmenares explained that the Palace’s proposal to allow government to declare savings midyear to realign it to other projects, a mechanism similar to the now unconstitutional disbursement acceleration program, allows the government to have two budgets. The first budget is from January to June and is approved by Congress while the second is from July to December based on the realignments of the executive.
The party-list representative said that based on the Palace’s proposal, the executive will be empowered to discontinue projects anytime so these can be realigned as savings.
He said this would facilitate the bloating of the budgets of agencies with a bad record of project implementation.
The Makabayan bloc is preparing for the start of budget deliberations at the House of representative Wednesday.
The deliberations will begin with the Development Budget Coordinating Committee presentation on the macroeconomic fundamentals and the use of savings.
Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon has said the Makabayan bloc will actively scrutinize the budget.(MNS)