Ex-national treasurer calls on public to monitor budget
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - December 29, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former national treasurer Leonor Briones urged the public to remain vigilant in monitoring lump sums and the approved general provisions in the bicameral appeal budget where vulnerabilities are still present.

“The Supreme Court excised the one lump by declaring the unconstitutionality of legislative pork (barrel) or the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF). But there are still many other lumps in the system, but these are under the control of the Executive,” said Briones, who is also the lead convenor of advocacy group Social Watch Philippines.

Lump sums refer to appropriations in the budget whose details are not explicit or present, making them vulnerable to abuse.

PDAF was a portion of a greater set of lump sums called Special Purpose Funds, which currently amount to over P283 billion. These funds can only be released by the Department of Budget and Management with the approval of the President.

Other lump sums include Off-Budget Items and the President’s Social Fund, all under the control of the Executive.

“Since 2006, Social Watch Philippines has maintained its position against having lump sums in the budget. They are vulnerable to abuse and have been abused by officials in the past. Our stand has always been to realign these funds to agencies and local government units because they are audited every year,” said Briones, a professor at the University of the Philippines.

“An audit of the Special Purpose Funds and other lump sums are only done when it is demanded by the public. When that happens the money is already spent or stolen,” she added.

The general provisions in the budget are another concern of Social Watch Philippines.

“There is a provision that savings can be declared up to the third quarter of the year. This means that savings can be declared as early as January. Does that make sense?” Briones noted.

Earlier, the declaration and definition of savings became a major issue in the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program, the constitutionality of which is being deliberated by Supreme Court.

BRIONES DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT DISBURSEMENT ACCELERATION PROGRAM LEONOR BRIONES LUMP OFF-BUDGET ITEMS AND THE PRESIDENT PRIORITY DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE FUNDS SOCIAL WATCH PHILIPPINES SPECIAL PURPOSE FUNDS SUPREME COURT
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with