Tag: General Appropriations Act

Fast-Tracking the National ID System and Funding R&D

The National ID system was signed into law nearly two years ago. There is no other time than now where it is most needed.

I hope the National Economic and Development Authority can fast-track the implementation of the National ID system, as directed by the President.

NEDA should have ample help from the Philippine Statistics Authority as the frontline agency, and the Department of ICT which plays a major role.

The first question is, is the system ready to accept registrants? If so, they should give priority to the marginalized sector, and those targeted for financial assistance because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, while the President has made a P10-million offer to whoever can develop a vaccine for COVID-19, it would mean much more if the government invested more on research and development than the token annual average share of 0.4% from the General Appropriations Act.

We only need to look at how much the most prosperous countries spend on R&D to see why we are among the laggards. Even if we bump up the percentage to 1 or 2 percent of the national budget, it would make a major difference.

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On the Duterte Administration’s First Two Years

Even during the 2016 presidential campaign, when he persistently pitched for a six-month deadline to solve the drug problem in the country, I already pointed out it was impossible. It remains as impossible as saying he can stop crime.

After two years, it may be wise and prudent for his top advisers to go back to the drawing board and reassess what they did wrong and what they are doing right, not only in the fight against crime and corruption, which is the centerpiece of the Duterte administration’s deliverables, but in the economic sector as well.

For one, the peace-and-order strategy is long on crime suppression and short on prevention. It should be the other way around. We prevent crimes, and those that cannot be prevented from being committed must be suppressed with solid solution through efficient investigative work and techniques.

On the revenue side, the TRAIN law needs to be revisited and amended, and the President, with all his strong influence over Congress, must put his foot down on vested interests of some members of both houses.

On the expenditure side, a.k.a. the General Appropriations Act, the same influence is suggested to minimize wastage of the government’s hard-earned resources by strictly adhering to the existing jurisprudence outlawing pork barrel, which is still evident among selected members of Congress, a few of whom enjoyed as high as nine-figure insertions during the last two budget years under the Duterte administration.

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#PingTweets: Double slap? On billions of pesos worth of vested interests of the few in the TRAIN and 2018 GAA

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