Lawmaker: 2016 budget designed for corruption
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016 was designed for “corruption” and “ramped-up election spending,” Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said yesterday.

He said that while the Aquino administration called the budget program “Saligan ng Tuloy-Tuloy na Pag-Unlad (Foundation for continuous growth),” it is turning out to be for tuloy-tuloy na kawatan (unfettered corruption).”

The 2016 budget is more than double the P1.541-trillion national budget in 2010, the year President Aquino assumed office, he said.

“Despite the introduction of so-called transparency measures such as the Unified Accounts Code Structure, the national budget is far from being corruption-proof,” Ridon said.

“We can even say that the proposed national budget for 2016 is not just vulnerable to corruption but is rather intrinsically designed for corruption,” he said.

The lawmaker pointed to the sharp increase in the budget allotted to the “Special Purpose Funds” (SPFs) for 2016, the portion of the budget that various public finance watchdogs have invariably identified as big pork due to their discretionary nature.

He said for 2016, SPFs total P430.4 billion or 75.2 percent higher than this year’s P245.7 billion.

More glaringly, the lump sum portion of SPFs is set to increase by 101.7 percent to P97.4 billion from the current P48.3 billion.

Ridon also cited the conspicuous increase in the lump sum Local Government Support Fund (LGSF), from the current P3.1 billion to P18.4 billion in 2016.

According to the 2016 National Expenditure Program, the LGSF will be used to support various “priority programs and projects of LGUS,” implement “bottom-up budgeting projects” and “rehabilitate and upgrade provincial roads.”

“The sheer size of the LGSF alone is suspect. This is essentially a fund that the administration will use to strengthen its grip and influence in LGUs ahead of the 2016 presidential elections,” Ridon said.

The lawmaker also noted the 29-percent increase in the government’s infrastructure outlay, which is set at P766.5 billion, of which P268.4 billion is allocated for the paving of 31,242 kilometers of roads.

“The increase in the infrastructure outlay is no doubt related to the upcoming polls. For the common Filipino, one signal of the upcoming elections is the untimely rebuilding of national and arterial roads,” Ridon said.

“It is not a secret to the people that many corrupt politicians get kickbacks from these road projects,” he said.

“With the government seeking to pave 31,000 kilometers of roads next year, don’t be surprised if the recently paved road in your neighborhood gets excavated and repaved in the months leading to elections,” Ridon maintained.

ACIRC AQUINO BILLION BUDGET LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FUND NATIONAL EXPENDITURE PROGRAM PRESIDENT AQUINO RIDON SPECIAL PURPOSE FUNDS TERRY RIDON UNIFIED ACCOUNTS CODE STRUCTURE
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