Rushing budget approval sacrifices proper scrutiny — Makabayan solons
MANILA, Philippines — “Bakit ba nagmamadali? Ano ang dahilan ng pagmamadali? (Why are we rushing? What is the reason for the rush?) Why are we sacrificing ‘yung scrutiny (over the bill for the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget)?”
This was the main concern of Makabayan bloc solons on Friday as they slammed the apparent rush for the approval of the 2020 budget.
The House of Representatives is set to squeeze in just one day the submission of amendments as well as the second and final reading approval of the budget bill this Friday (Sept. 20).
This is after President Rodrigo Duterte certified as urgent the 2020 budget bill, or the General Appropriations bill (GAB).
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate explained that the certification as urgent “only dispenses with the three-day waiting period” to consider a bill on third reading.
“Hindi ibig sabihin noon ay putulin na kaagad at pagsabayin ang second and third and reading,” he told reporters in a press conference.
He pointed out that the apparent rush sacrifices the goal to be transparent on the GAB since members of the House will be forced to vote on the GAB despite not being able to scrutinize it.
“It only invites kung gustong maiwasan ‘yung pagkakaroon ng insertion. It only opens the floodgate sa mga amendments,” Zarate said.
ACT Teachers party-list France Castro said that with hasty approval, the scrutiny over the 2020 budget allocations are being dispensed with, especially when the Makabayan bloc has found several discrepancies and misappropriations in the budget.
“Balewala din ‘yung pagpupuyat namin na binubusisi kada isang ahsensya ng gobyerno ang budget nya… Gusto natin ma-undergo ‘yung tamang proseso,” Castro said.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said he does not see any reason to have the 2020 budget approved, especially where there are budget cuts for social services.
He noted that while funds national defense and public order amounts to one-fifth of the overall national budget, there have been cuts on the budget for social services including health and education.
“Ito ay pera sa giyera, hindi para sa serbisyong panlipunan. Hindi namin makita na kung itong budget ba ay dapat karapat-dapat na aprubahan,” Gaite said.
“Lalo na ‘yung haste na ginagawa ay walang transparency at hindi napupunta sa dapat na kailangan na pondo para sa mamamayang Pilipino,” he added. /muf
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