Tañada calls for passage of Budget Savings Act

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Erin Tanada during the House of Representatives committee hearing on public information regarding the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The recent debates on Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s P1.6-million cash gifts to 18 senators should be reason enough for the passage of a savings measure in Congress.

Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tañada III said that the Budget Savings Act of 2010 was pending in the lower chamber’s appropriations panel since August 8, 2011.

The bill, which seeks to give a “clear-cut definition of what savings is” and determine how it should be utilized, could have prevented the issue on Enrile’s cash gifts to the senators.

House Bill 4992, authored by Tañada, could resolve issues with savings which are sometimes done “deliberately… not fully utilizing allocated budgets for some projects, programs and even capital outlay only to use these un-spent funds for staff and officials’ bonuses at the end of the year.”

“Even without the word war in the Senate with regard to how they dispensed with their savings, Congress should really give a clear-cut definition of what ‘savings’ is and more importantly, what should be done with it,” said the House leader.

Admitting that HB 4992 needs further refinements, Tañada said that it would be best to hold a public hearing to thresh out the bill’s provisions.

HB 4992 defines savings as “the unexpended balances of an appropriation authorized in the General Appropriations Act (GAA) or unobligated amount of allotment released by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as determined by the agency budget officers and certified by the Departments/Agencies, including the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well the constitutional bodies and offices enjoying fiscal autonomy, resulting from the completion or final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized; from appropriation/allotment balances arising from unpaid compensation and related costs pertaining to vacant positions and leaves of absence without pay; and from appropriations balances realized from the implementation of measures resulting in improved systems and efficiencies and thus enabled an agency to meet and deliver the required or planned targets, programs and services approved in the GAA at a lesser cost. The term, however, does not include unexpended portion of any re-enacted national budget.”

It will also require from the DBM quarterly financial reports from all government agencies, including the House, the Senate, Constitutional bodies and offices enjoying fiscal autonomy. Absence of such reports will revert an agency’s savings to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year.

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  • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

    Erin Tañada has my sympathy. Or maybe pity. He worked so hard during the Corona impeachment trial and yet the administration treated him shabbily, completely excluding him from LP’s senatorial slate while favoring the political newbie and laughably inexperienced Bam Aquino. Still, Tañada continued to advance the cause of FOI bill at the risk of incurring the wrath of the administration. But Tañada was also crusading for FOI bill to stay visible and maintain his name recall. These days, he has found another opportunity to make himself relevant using the Budget Savings Act. After unseating Corona, the legislature’s own corruption has come under the spotlight. Corruption continues to proliferate happily ever after in spite of Corona’s removal and this tragicomedy seems to be all lost on Tañada.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7W7IOOVSMXPI4IM4SMGC47FS7I larry

    matagal na yang issue of savings sa mga gov’t offices, and it is really a wander bakit ngayon lang ito pinag-uusapan.  it could all be traced to the preparation of the annual budget proposals (usually starts in february each year) up to the budget hearings and deliberations in congress.  simply enough, there shouldn’t be millions of savings if agencies really and honestly worked up their respective work and financial plans.  gov’t should maximize resources in rendering public service, not save them.  these savings are the reason we hear of agencies with questionabl/ridiculous bonuses. huge yearend savings could only mean either incompetence or deliberate withholding of service

    • http://www.yellowmythbusters.gov.ph/ Weder-Weder Lang

      ……… incompetence or deliberate withholding of service ………..  and overbudget as in the case of the senate. Senator Drilon perfected ways and means of overbudgeting, raising it to the level of art. Senator Joker protested but he was the lone voice in the wilderness. Who doesn’t want big fat bonuses at the end of the year, retorts Senator Drilon.

  • NAGMAMARUNONG

    hindi uubra ‘yan sir. money, money o pera, pera ang diyos ng 99.99% na politician. in short mga LACOSTE sila.

  • 1Fz20

    question is why did the senate led by its president continue to allocate the budget for Pnoy’s senate office even if he left the senate already, diba very clear graft and corruption yan? or at least malversation – budget/pera ng iba,ginamit sa sa ibang paraan-sa christmas gift!
    also like everyone already knows how the military’s (former)pabaon system works? yung budget nila para sa operations at sa mga gamit ng sundalo-sweldo, shoes, bullets, guns,etc…tinipid o kaya hindi binigay or na-misdeclare to something less in value, and all these millions were used/diverted as pabaon…senate=same banana,same style as pabaon.Enrile and thieves resign irrevocably.

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