Budget, Village Polls in Legislative Wringer

Manila Bulletin, October 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Budget, Village Polls in Legislative Wringer


Byline: Fred M. Lobo

VEERING away from other controversies, the House of Representatives begins plenary debates on the proposed R1.27-trillion national budget for 2008 with the sponsoring committee noting its inadequacy to cover all aspects of governance and public needs.

Deliberate wildly but allocate wisely! Plus no delay, please.

***

Blame the meagerness of the budget to the ballooning population and "useless and toxic loans" that require automatic appropriation, says Rep. Edcel Lagman.

Children averages six, debt payment like five-six. Whew!

***

"In the Philippines, like in other similarly situated countries, the reality of limited resources is compounded by the numerous demands of an exploding population which is projected to escalate to 90,457,200 next year and the crippling constraints of an enormous debt service with interest payments reaching R295.751 billion in Fiscal Year 2008 and principal amortization amounting to R328.3 billion or a total debt service of R624 billion which is a little over 50 percent of the proposed National Expenditure Program."

Call it the Lagman's Lament on the budget.

***

Deducting payment for debt and interest, the government is left with R384.8 billion for personal services, R210.7 billion for Internal Revenue Allotment, and discretionary items R286.6 billion.

It's a budget on a K-level. Kakarampot.

***

Lagman says the insufficient amount left for Congress to dispose of should give lawmakers a good reason to "rekindle the crusade" of repealing the law on automatic appropriation adding "we must trust the innate responsibility of legislators to determine what debts must be paid."

***

President Arroyo certifies as urgent the bill postponing the Oct. 29 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, upon prodding by her allies at the House of Representatives.

Stop the polls for the sake of "my people."

***

But the Senate expresses intention to shelve the bill and push through with the barangay elections, indicating that its members are not as much preoccupied with local politics than their counterparts in the Lower House. …

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