Pnoy’s P501B special fund bucked
• July 31, 2014
• Written by Jester P. Manalastas
• Published in Top Stories
EVEN before the start of the budget deliberation the House Independent Minority bloc led by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has demanded that the administration specifically identify the allocations for the P501-billion lump sum in the proposed 2015 national budget.
According to Romualdez, the lump sum appropriations or special purpose funds (SPF) under the P2.606-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is a huge amount that might be abused and subjected to illegal disbursements.
“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 said.
He urged his colleagues in the House of Representatives to oppose the lump sum if the administration will not give full “information” about it.
During the budget turnover at the House of Representatives, Budget and Management Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad confirmed that the next year’s lump sum allocation will reach P501.6 billion.
“This SPF will be used as 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, Abad said.
“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,” the budget chief said.
But Romualdez asked the administration to make the bulk of the SPF specific allocations for the purpose of transparency and accountability.
He said transferring the SPF to line agencies will help ensure that expenditures will be audited annually unlike now with the latest audit report on the fund 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, for 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,” he added.