"It may be used for candidates’ personal campaigns since 2019 is an election year."
The Department of Budget and Management was created in 1987 by virtue of Executive Order No. 292, or the Revised Administrative Code of 1987. Its mandate is to ensure the efficient and sound utilization of government funds for national growth and development. Public welfare must take precedence and so the agency must uphold integrity and competence in formulating and implementing the national budget.
The House passed the 2019 budget on third reading yesterday and shall transmit the same to the Senate, with the hope of its enactment before the year ends. However, I have some reservations regarding its passage.
Last month, the House uncovered the irregular budget insertions amounting to P5.5 billion which were subsequently realigned to fund different basic services. This led to a big controversy which the Senate intends to resolve before passing the bill. There are also questions left unanswered regarding the utilization of the previous annual budget including the undeclared savings and unaccounted-for expenses. However, the Department of Budget and Management remains aloof on the call of Congress to answer inquiries pursuant to its oversight functions.
This exhibited disinterest by the DBM is disturbing. The DBM, as the line agency of the executive in charge of the national fiscal policies and programs, should be working closely with Congress in the enactment of the budget. However, instead of being cooperative, it becomes a hindrance to the supposed transparency of the budget and the government.
2019 is an election year. With the unresolved controversies that beset the national budget, the people’s purse might be used for personal campaigns of candidates and reelectionists instead of its true public purpose. Hence, I call on the DBM to appear before the House to explain and correct the irregularities in the implementation of the 2018 budget and in the proposed 2019 national budget. By virtue of the oversight powers vested upon Congress, I, along with the members of the Minority, will be vigilant on the performance of agencies, particularly the Executive as the implementing arm of the government. The country needs a cohesive government that will put forth the public’s welfare. Inter-agency cooperation is greatly needed to accomplish this.