Budget chief: Aquino ‘prudent’ on spending social fund
MANILA, Philippines – Why scrap President Benigno Aquino III’s social fund when he has been “prudent” with it, spending only close to P200 millions every year unlike the P800 million annual expenses by his predecessor?
This was how Budget Secretary Florencio Abad justified the retention of the President’s Social Fund (PSF) amid calls for the scrapping of “pork barrel” funds in all government agencies, including that of the President’s fund.
Abad noted that Aquino only spends about P179 million a year of the PSF compared to the P800 million annual expenses by then president and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The total PSF spent during Arroyo’s 10-year term amounted to about P7 billion, the Budget chief told Senate reporters on Tuesday.
Even a scrutiny by the Commission on Audit, Abad said, would show that the PSF was only P1.1 billon when Aquino assumed office in 2010 but the amount now ballooned to P5 billion
“So napakamaayos at napakamaingat ang paggamit ng Pangulo sa ganyang klase ng pondo,” Abad said when asked if the President‘s fund should also be abolished.
(So the President has been very careful and prudent in using this kind of find)
Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also insisted, during a budget hearing early on Tuesday, that the President should be given “flexibility” over the budget of his own office.
While he was proposing a line-item budgeting for government agencies, Recto said, it should not cover the lump sum allocations for calamity and contingency funds.
“Dapat magtiwala tayo sa ating pangulo na kailangan meron din syang some flexibility in the budget,” said the senator.
(We should trust our President… he should also have some flexibility in the budget.)
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