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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Possible steps on the budget

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"How about performance incentives?"



The Bicameral Conference Committee is currently deliberating and finalizing the Proposed 2019 National Budget. Congress is hopeful that the budget will finally be passed and enacted before the session break.

At this point, I would like to emphasize the problems faced by the government with regard to the budget. Every year we do this, and yet the problems of corruption and under-utilization of the budget do not seem to go away. We all know the consequences of this system: Medicine and equipment in hospitals, as well as facilities in schools, become inadequate. Roads and bridges are of poor quality, and the establishment of public buildings is slow. Many of our countrymen are not included in the government’s livelihood program. These are only some of the problems Filipinos encounter.

One of the difficulties we have these days is the refusal of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to attend budget hearings. We also know that Mr. Diokno has to answer many questions from our lawmakers.

There is an observed practice that some officials ally with each other to defend each other’s performance. To our mind, unity in the Executive family does not rule out the ability of co-cabinet members to point out inefficiencies and possible malpractices in a civil and professional manner. We hope that there would be an opportunity, even on private, for these conversations.

As a legislator, it is my duty to scrutinize budget allocations and assess the utilization of various government agencies, most especially the executive agencies which are in charge of program implementation and enforcement of laws. I have tirelessly repeated my call to government agencies to implement the Attrition Law, but to no avail. Perhaps, the next Congress would be able to address this by expanding the law and revisiting the incentives and penalties it imposes.

We should study how beneficial it is to provide a performance incentive to various offices in the Cabinet especially those expected to provide timely public service. Of course we are all paid to do our jobs, but we should consider these incentives for better and more efficient governance.


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