On the Proposed 2024 Budget

A timeline of former Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s revelations on the proposed 2024 Budget:

September 5, 2023: (On finding P2 billion to aid rice retailers): There’s quite a lot readily available upon the President’s approval. Among others, there is P2B under ‘Unprogrammed Fund’ in the 2023 GAA out of the P3.5B that Congress realigned from the DPWH’s ‘General Administration and Support’.

August 28, 2023: Sure it exists and more. A multi-purpose building project in the same municipality with quintuple appropriations in varying amounts and inconspicuously tucked in several pages of the 2023 GAA doesn’t look like an oversight.

August 24, 2023: 45 projects in the 2023 GAA and 26 items in the 2024 NEP have double, triple, quadruple and quintuple appropriations, thus excessively, unreasonably, unnecessarily and unconscionably bloating fund allocations in the range of 109% to 328%. Sadly, nobody seems to mind at all.

August 19, 2023: Move over, double appropriations. Make way for triple, quadruple and quintuple appropriations in the proposed 2024 national expenditure program i.e., the same item/s given appropriations 3, 4, 5 times. From bold and careless to blatant shamelessness.

August 17, 2023: (K)ickbacks are bigger and free-flowing; almost impossible to audit because the next floods will remove the traces of their failure to dredge. P215B will flood the pockets of the proponents until they drown with inundations.

August 16, 2023: “Don’t panic, utang lang yan!”… When debt service is about to breach 32% of the nation’s budget, why do we keep borrowing more than the projected deficit each year yet underspending remains at high levels – should be the question addressed to the economic managers.

August 11, 2023: Let the budget deliberations begin:
•Average P300B per year in unused appropriations
•28% of our national budget to be sourced from borrowings
•Off-budget accounts of agencies run up to at least P100B each year
•Flagship projects may be accomplished via PPP
•P600B to P700B lost to corruption yearly
Why do we keep increasing the budget?

As in a sari-sari store owner, increasing his budget, even through borrowings to expand investment for further economic growth is sound business philosophy. National government has the habit of borrowing more than what it needs but fails to use the funds. Wanted: common sense.

August 8, 2023: The nation’s top leaders defending instead of declining the proposed budget increases in their respective confidential and intelligence funds goes against the most basic leadership principle that needs no further elaboration. It is called – leadership by example.