The wealth of the country in terms of national budget bounty is not equitable to local government units and far from being transparent either to the people in general despite the fact the country has allotted PhP1.8 trillion embodied in R.A. No. 10155 for this year, according to an official of the Center for National Budget Legislation (CNBL). This harsh reality makes every local government units struggling every budget year on their available resources, said Joseph A. Rañola, president of the CNBL. He bared this in his power point presentation before the Bohol Tri-media Cooperative members during a two-hour conference held at Jjs Seafood Restaurant, K of C drive , this city, Friday. CNBL is budget partner of the lawmakers of the House of Representatives. It presents a comprehensive body of knowledge of the national budget as it provides working knowledge on budgeting. CNBL shoulders gargantuan tasks in assisting the lawmakers on how is the budget is prepared and approved; how revenues are generated; how funds are appropriated and spent; and what can be done to eradicate deficit and debt.
CNBL, Rañola said, proposes for what he called “Pondo at Puhunan para sa Pinoy.” This may not be farfetched to realize if only an equitable share from the national budget goes to the LGUs. And if given a chance, he cited as an example that a fund of P300 billion may be taken from the total regular dept/agency budgets of P868,919,155 billion; another amount of P150 billion from the Special Purpose fund amounting to P376,274,115 billion; and another amount of P50 billion from the automatic appropriations to the tune of P723,628,575 billion, then a total of P500 could be obtained. This amount (P500 billion) if divided among the 41,995 barangays, then, each would have at least PhP12 million share from the national budget. If the same amount is divided by the 1,498 towns, each would have a share of PhP333 million, if not, the same (amount) if divided by 81 provinces, each (province) would have a share of PhP6 billion a year. These funds are enough to pursue development programs and projects in the localities.
He even threw a wisecrack that if the huge amount of funds (P1.8 trillion) only go to the pockets to the politicians themselves, then if would be better it would go to the pockets also of the LGs rather than only few are stealing it. But he quickly quip it is not what the CNBL is trying to encourage because it is for awareness and transparency and accountability. The regular budget for various department/agencies of the national government amounting to PhP868,919,155 billion with DepEd getting the lion’s share of PhP201,821,472 billion this year. This is followed by Dept. Of Public Works and Highways, PhP109,833,406 billion; Dept of National Defense, PhP106,905,022 B; Dept of Interior Local Govt, PhP92,879,820 B; and Dept of Agriculture, PhP52,932,023 B. Funds allotted for Congress amounting to PhP9,370,140 Billion; Judiciary, PhP15,075,891 B; Office of the President, PhP2,595,422 B; and Office of the Vice-President, PhP401,786 million only.
The independent agencies like the Civil Service Commission had PhP777,248 M; Commission on Audit, PhP6,634,662 B; Comelec, PhP10,026,478 B; Ombudsman, PhP1,308,746 B; and Commission on Human Rights, PhP273,100 M. Other agencies had their share also from the national pie: Dept of Agrarian Reform, PhP17,903,222 B; State Universities/colleges, PhP22,097,645B; DENR, PhP16,990,868 B; Dept of Finance, PhP12,039,574B; Dept of Foreign Affairs, PhP10,912,081 B; Dept of Health, PhP42,769,378B; Dept of Justice, PhP8,656,728B; Dept of Labor/Employment, PhP6,988,041B; DOTC, PhP33,242,278B; DOST, PhP9,139,452B; DSWD, PhP48,732,175B; Dept of Tourism, PhP1,631,763B; Dept of Trade and Industry, PhP2,604,563B; NEDA, PhP2,836,893B; and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, PhP11,717,707.
The House of Representatives is where the budget exclusively emanates. Under section 24 of Art. VI of the 197 Constitution, “all appropriations, revenues, or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of public debt, bills of local application and private bills, shall originate exclusively from the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose and concur amendments.” A national budget is the totality of the budgets of various departments/agencies of the gcernment and attached agencies amd government-owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCCs) including support to the LGUs. Priority Development Assistance Fund or popularly known as “pork barrel” for the Congress members amounted to PhP24,890,000 billion with PhP70 million goes to each congressman and PhP200 million each Senator. Mr. Fred Araneta, Tri-media president and Mr. Peter Dejaresco welcomed RAñola and thanked for information about the national budget. (RVO)