Romualdez dares colleagues to oppose P501-B SPF
• July 31, 2014
• Written by Ryan Ponce Pacpaco
• Published in Top Stories
HOUSE independent minority bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez challenged yesterday his colleagues to oppose the P501-billion “lump sum” appropriations or special purpose funds (SPF) under next year’s P2.606-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB), explaining it does not give full “information” about its transparency.
Romualdez said Congress should show more transparency and accountability by disallowing a very huge lump sum funds in the national expenditure program for 2015.
“That amount is very huge and a Congress championing transparency and accountability that this administration has been bragging about should bar such appropriation because it does not provide the full details as to where the funds will be spent,” Romualdez pointed out.
Facing House reporters after submitting next year’s budget to the House of Representatives, Abad said a total of P501.670 billion was to be set aside as SPF to be used for “calamity funds, contingency funds, miscellaneous personnel benefit funds, pension and guarantee funds, the Internal Revenue Allotment (for local government units), debt service or interest payments” and other items.
“The total amount that pertains to the Special Purpose Funds that I mentioned is P501.670 billion, or about 29 percent of the new General Appropriations Act. The rest are department and agency budgets,” said Abad.
Romualdez demanded that majority of the SPF should be put to specific allocations where transparency and accountability are observed.
He said transferring the SPF to line agencies will help ensure that expenditures will be audited annually unlike now wherein the latest audit report for it is way back in 2009.
“For example, the calamity fund can be transferred to line agencies directly involved in disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness as provided for in R.A.9729. Funds can be transferred to agencies tasked to do their mandate, example the school building program can be transferred directly to DepEd (Department of Education),” Romualdez said.
“Of course we cannot predict calamities but I would suggest that we lessen the lump sum funds so that we can ensure that public funds are not wasted by allocating these to specific purposes,” Romualdez explained.
Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras had assured earlier that everything was detailed in next year’s budget until Abad made an admission.
The lump sum is traditionally a phrase referred with the graft-ridden priority development assistance fund (PDAF) and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that lawmakers and President Aquino had used at their discretion, respectively, before the Supreme Court (SC) declared the PDAF and the DAP unconstitutional.