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Budget Secretary Florencio Abad

Palace clarifies malicious report on government spending

DBM Sec. Florencio Abad
DBM Sec. Florencio Abad

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang fended off allegations that it has almost depleted this year’s national budget as the new administration assumes office, saying all budget releases are based on rules prescribed by the law.
“Walang katotohanan at walang batayan (yan),” Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr. said about the accusation, pointing out that government expenditure is based on the General Appropriations Act legislated by Congress.
“Ang General Appropriations Act ay binubuo ng iba’t ibang bahagi para sa bawat ahensiya o tanggapan ng pamahalaan. Mayroong PS o personal salaries, meron ding MOOE o miscellaneous and other operating expenses, at merong capital outlay,” Secretary Coloma told reporters during a press briefing at the Palace.
“Sa bagong mga sistema na bahagi ng budget reform, itinakda ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) ang patakarang ‘the approved budget itself as the release document’… Kapag ito ay effective na, pwede nang ma-release ang mga pondo. Ang ibig sabihin ng pwedeng ma-release, dapat ay sumunod sa mga alituntunin ng pamahalaan, primarily DBM, at saka Commission on Audit,” he explained.
The budget takes effect on the first day of the year, he said, adding that the Aquino administration has been using this system in the past six years.
Citing an example, the Palace official said the budget for employees’ salaries is released in a timely manner, based on the scheduled payroll dates of an agency.
The release of miscellaneous and other operating expenses also have a legal basis, he added.
“Kapag capital outlay naman, kinakailangan ay magsumite ng isang work and financial plan kung paano gagamitin ang capital outlay na ‘yon at kapag in-approve ng DBM, saka lang ibibigay ang authority para magamit ang pondo,” Coloma said.
Calling the accusations against the administration reckless and irresponsible, he said the administration is spending the money in an open, transparent and accountable manner.
There have been reports that 80 percent of the 2016 budget has been spent for campaigning for the administration’s candidates.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.