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MANILA, Philippines – House ways and means panel chairman Joey Salceda began his committee hearing on Wednesday, May 3, with a concern that was not originally on the day’s agenda: the slow disbursement of government funds.
Salceda called out government agencies for not expediting the release of the funds, and for not spending the cash fast enough.
He said this is unacceptable when tax collection agencies – the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) – exceeded expectations on their revenue performance.
“Despite growth in collection, we are actually implementing contractionary fiscal policy, with disbursements down 1.05%,” he said. “There’s no reason for disbursements to be down 1.05%. That is why this ways and means committee is working double time to find funds that the government can spend.”
“Collections made by the BIR and BOC are useless if the Department of Finance (DOF), Bureau of Treasury (BOT), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would not release it. There are still many pending special allotment release orders (SARO),” Salceda added.
He asserted that the DBM should take advantage of the clearance it got from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to release allotment orders.
“Crucial agencies for economic and social services, such as DPWH, DOLE, and DBM, must be more aggressive in implementing programs to expand productivity. Otherwise, growth will come solely from the private sector,” Salceda said.
“As one of my mentors, former secretary Winnie Monsod, once told me – when we miss growth targets, we kill people, the sick die, and families go hungry,” he added.
The Marcos government has a whopping budget of P5.2 trillion for 2023, the biggest for the Philippine government to date.
The administration has said the funds would be used for its recovery plan “as the country emerges from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.” – Rappler.com