Senators told: No ‘ayuda’ allocations in 2022 budget
MANILA, Philippines — There are no “ayuda” allocations next year for possible lockdowns due to Covid-19, senators learned on Wednesday.
During the hearing of the Senate committee on finance on the proposed P5.024 trillion national budget in 2022, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto asked how much was allocated for cash aid net year.
“We did not provide Mr. Chairman any specific line item for ayuda…” Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie Canda, officer-in-charge of Department of Budget and Management, said.
Canda explained that the cash aid given this year to people affected by the pandemic was sourced from savings and unprogrammed funds of government.
When Recto asked if the government should then include funding for lockdowns in the 2022 national budget, Canda said, “Mr. Chairman we would love that but unfortunately under our current system it discourages lump sum funds for no reasons.”
“So that’s the reason why we don’t have any amount provided for ayuda and lockdowns because we can’t foresee how much would be required?” she went on.
At this point, Senate panel head, Senator Sonny Angara, inquired if the budget for cash aid could be lodged under the contingent fund.
“Ah pwede naman po your honor but then we will be increasing the contingent fund and then we will have to defend it in case that happens,” Canda said.
“The committee can actually augment,” she later added.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon earlier called on government to “downsize its defense spending for next year in favor of the much-needed ayuda and other social and health services.”
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