Drilon: No hidden lump sums in budget
Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Allegations of hidden lump sums in the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget are crazy and unfounded, Senate President Frank Drilon said yesterday.

He was reacting to claims by critics of the administration that the P434.32 billion lodged in what is called Special Purpose Funds may actually be lump sum funds that are open to abuse especially in the election season.

The President supposedly has sole discretion over the fund.

At a briefing yesterday by the Development Budget Coordination Committee before the Senate committee on finance, Sen. Loren Legarda asked Budget Secretary Florencio Abad to clarify what these funds were and why they were generating so much controversy.

In response, Abad said the President does not have full discretion over the use of the funds and that technically, there are only two lump sums in the proposed budget, the details of which cannot be made available immediately.

He said for instance that the calamity fund clearly cannot contain details because there is no way to predict just how many typhoons and other calamities would take place in the country in a given year.

This is separate from the Yolanda reconstruction and rehabilitation fund, for which projects had been approved in October 2014.

In the case of the contingency fund, Abad said no details are provided immediately because there is no way contingencies can be predicted.

As far as the P18.9-billion Yolanda Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Fund is concerned, Drilon said that Malacañang and concerned agencies could readily identify specific projects as the calamity took place two years ago.

“We can already submit to the public where are these projects going in order to dispel all of these unfounded allegations that these are lump sums,” Drilon said.

Abad said that there was also a lump sum fund for death benefits for barangay officials, which, again, could not possibly be presented in detail.

“They want us to specify and say who will die so that we can disaggregate this because it’s a lump sum. If they are saying that this is illegal, we can disaggregate this. But they should provide the names of the people who would be entitled to the death benefits,” Drilon said, referring to critics of the budget program.

ABAD ATILDE BUDGET SECRETARY FLORENCIO ABAD DEVELOPMENT BUDGET COORDINATION COMMITTEE DRILON FUND LOREN LEGARDA LUMP MALACA SPECIAL PURPOSE FUNDS YOLANDA RECONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION FUND
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