Lacson, Marcos: DBM plans later release of 2021 budget for institutional amendments
MANILA, Philippines — Two senators said Tuesday that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is allegedly threatening to still use the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2021 as reference for the release of the budget and shelve for later release the funding for institutional amendments.
“We heard na merong threat pa ‘yung DBM ngayon na maski anong itsura o hugis ng lumabas na budget coming out of Congress ay babalik sila sa NEP as reference. In other words, ang plano na naman mag-FLR (for later release) doon sa ating mga institutional amendments,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said during a Senate hearing for the proposed budget of the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
(We heard there is a threat from the DBM that no matter what the budget will be after being deliberated in Congress, they will still use the NEP as reference. In other words, they plan to tag funding for institutional amendments for later release.)
“Kung ganoon, parang nagpapagod tayo ng budget deliberations (If that’s the case, it will be as if we are wasting our energy in budget deliberations),” he added.
Lacson said the DBM should instead ask government agencies which projects they could not implement for the year and then have the budget for such projects tagged for later release.
“Bakit hindi ganoon na lang ang nangyari? Parang ang mindset nila, basta nakita nilang labas sa NEP at naging congressional initiative, automatic FLR, which I don’t think is healthy, maski sa demokrasya and ‘yung principle ng check and balance,” he added.
(Why not just do it like that? Their mindset is, as long as they see that the budget is outside of the NEP and is a congressional initiative, they will tag it for later release, which I don’t think is healthy, even for democracy and the principle of check and balance.)
Senator Imee Marcos, who was also present in the hearing, said she also heard about this supposed plan of the DBM for the 2021 budget.
“That’s correct. I heard that also,” she said.
Lacson said the same scenario happened this year, noting that some agencies have unused appropriations which should have been the ones considered for later release of the budget.
The DBM is recommending a P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021, focusing on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and on economic recovery.
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