STRICT SCRUTINY ON 2016
BUDGET TO THWART UNDERSPENDING
Senator Chiz Escudero vowed to exercise a stricter scrutiny of the 2016 national budget in order to prevent a repeat of last year’s public underspending that slowed down the economy in the first quarter of the year.
Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said he will ask the Department of Budget and Management to explain how the government will eliminate the problem of underspending largely due to the low absorptive capacity of state agencies.
“Nandoon ang pera pero hindi pa nagagastos dahil mabagal at mahina ang absorptive capacity ng gobyerno, at ‘yun nga ang rason kung bakit nagkakaroon ng underspending,” Escudero explained.
“Ang isang gagawin namin sa budget ng 2016 ay kung hindi pa alam kung saan ilalagay, hindi na muna namin ibibigay,” he added.
Escudero said it was not good for the government to underspend because it deprives citizens of essential public goods and services they rightly deserve such as improved education, better healthcare, and more roads and bridges.
He also demanded safeguards from the Government Procurement and Policy Board (GPPB), which is responsible for overseeing the government’s procurement system, to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of public spending.
The GPPB, he said, must do something to address bidding controversies such as in the procurement of helicopters, armored personnel carrier and force protector gear by the Department of National Defense.
“Lahat ng pondo para sa mga ito ay nasa 2009 hanggang 2011 national budget pa ngunit hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa naa-award dahil nag-rebid, nagkakaso, nag-arbitration; but that’s an adjustment that the GPPB should do,” Escudero pointed out. /MP