Abad backtracks, claims lump sum funds only P48.1B
MANILA, Philippines–Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad on Wednesday said only P48.1 billion in the P2.6 trillion proposed national budget for 2015 is classified as “lump sum” funds.
During the Development Budget Coordinating Committee hearing at the House of Representatives, Abad in his presentation said these are the only lump sum — or essentially, non-itemized — portion of the special purpose funds (SPF).
Lump sum funds usually pertain to the graft-ridden Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that lawmakers and President Benigno Aquino had used at their discretion, respectively, before the Supreme Court declared these funds unconstitutional.
The government had said the budget would be cleared from graft-tainted lump sum funds.
Now without the PDAF and DAP, lump sum funds under SPF now amount to P48.1 billion or down from P51.3 billion in the 2014 budget, Abad said.
Abad backtracked from his statement when he presented the budget to Congress for the first time.
He said P501.67 billion is set aside for the SPF, which he said are “lump sum in nature.”
“The total amount that pertains to the Special Purpose Funds that I mentioned is P501.670 billion, or about 29 percent of the new General Appropriations Act. The rest are department and agency budgets,” Abad had said.
Under the lump sum SPF are calamity funds, contingent funds, rehabilitation and reconstruction program, as well as allocations to local government units such as special shares, Abad’s presentation showed.
Abad said these are not disaggregated because because calamities and crisis that may be funded with these cannot be anticipated.
“By nature of the funds, they have to be lump sum,” Abad said.
Meanwhile, at least P330.5 billion of the SPF is not lump sum but “disaggregated” to budgetary support to government corporations, allocations to LGUs, e-government fund, international commitments fund, miscellaneous personnel benefits fund, and pension and gratuity fund, according to the presentation.
Also, at least P816 billion were under automatic appropriations such as the Internal Revenue Allotment, basically the local government unit’s annual share from the proceeds of the national internal revenue taxes, which has long been seen as the pork barrel fund equivalent for local officials.
Abad said a bulk of the SPFs are disaggregated and not lump sum.
Overall, the SPF for 2015 amounts to P1.1946 trillion or 45.8 percent of the total P2.6 trillion proposed budget, the presentation said.
The committee, chaired by Abad in representing President Benigno Aquino III’s finance team, is comprised of Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Internal Revenue chief Kim Henares, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Amado Tetangco Jr.
The committee aims to assess the overall economic targets, expenditure levels, revenue projection and the financing plan in relation to the national budget.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.