Sunday, October 17, 2004

NR1018: On the re-enactment of the 2004 budget

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release October 18 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Celphone number 09213907362

Re-enactment of 2004 budget for health, housing and education translation of
lack of responsiveness of GMA administration for the poor

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that if Congress only
intends to reenact the 2004 budget next year, then it's certain than the
problems of the basic sectors and working people will also continue to worsen,
and there will be no relief in sight for the mounting health, housing and
education problems of the poor. He said that the least Congress can do is to
increase allocations for health, education and housing and make sure that the
allocations go to public schools, public hospitals and subsidized, socialized
housing for the poor.

"Not only are the allocations for health, housing and education miniscule, they
are also being funneled into department operations and functions that do
not immediately and concretely benefit the poor sectors very much need of
these services," he said. Beltran said that going through the budgets of the
aforementioned agencies, he said that it was clear how twisted the priorities
of the national government are , and how the health, education and housing
agencies and departments are also geared not towards providing necessary
services to the Filipino people, but more towards profiteering and

"If there will be no changes in the budget, then it's only proof of the lack
of responsiveness and concern of the national government for the plight of
the poor. A major overhaul of the national budget is very necessary -
starting off with the scrapping of the automatic appropriation clause for
foreign debt payments," he said. "The allocations for health, housing,
education and agriculture should also be re-prioritized. Public services have
been severely cut down, and majority of Filipinos do not benefit any from
the national budget," he said.

Beltran said, however, that since there was no plan to reenact a new budget,
all the new tax measures and proposals being pushed by Malacanang should be
scrapped. "Since there will be changes in the allocations or no re-allignment
of funds for basic services, there should be no more tax measures," he said.

In the meantime, he also said that the line-budgetting of solons' Priority
Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) should be opposed. "This will be a mere
perpetuation of the grandscale deception of the Filipino people. The PDAf
should be abolished in its entirety - but instead of doing this, the
line-budgetting tact is being proposed. This is no different from giving the
PDAF wholly to the various districts - only here there is eve n less certainty
that the funds will be allotted for basic social services of the people in the
various constituencies. This line-budgetting is just a deceptive tactic if its
not going to result in the genuine re-alignment of the funds towards education,
health, housing and agriculture," he said. "

He also said that the line-budgetting tact should also be thrown back to the
Office of the President. He said that the Office of the President should
also be subjected to line-budgetting, and the president itself should be
tasked to line-budget the appropriations for foreign debt payments.

Beltran said that the Commission on Audit's (CoA) report on the detailed
Statement of Income and Expenses for the 2003 fiscal year of the Office of the
President (OP)contained eyebrow-raising facts and figures which belie the
executive's assertion that her government has been saving and scrimping and
that it's opposed to corruption.

Beltran said that according to the CoA report, President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo's office has the record of having the biggest unliquidated
cash advance since the administration of former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
While the accumulated cash advance from the time of Marcos down to the
government of ousted president Joseph Estrada totaled P160 M, the OPS under
PGMA has accumulated P626M in unliquidated cash advances in 2003 alone. #


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