Press Release
January 17, 2006


Delay in the Passage of 2006 Budget may be Deliberate

Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, thinks that the dilly-dallying in the deliberation of the proposed 2006 budget at the Lower House is being done deliberately in order to delay the passage of the budget or have it reenacted.

According to Villar, Every year the passage of the national budget is delayed and I think this year it is being done deliberately. We all know that the Executive Department would have more leeway or discretion in allocating funds or projects with a reenacted budget. Also the budget discussion is being tied with the move to amend the Constitution.

From all indications, it is clear that the Lower House is in no hurry to pass the proposed 2006 budget. It seems that the budget will be used as leverage in pushing for the change into a parliamentary form of government. These two issues should be tackled separately. The budget should not be mixed with politics, adds Villar.

Villar maintains that the budget is the single most important bill that should be passed by Congress each year without fail. What image are we painting to the whole world if we fail to even pass a national budget every year? We may lose the respect of investors, creditors, the international community and even our own citizens, says Villar.

Furthermore, Villar cites that government employees and workers are the ones who bear the brunt of the delay in the passage of this years budget since in the proposed budget there is a P13-billion allocation for their salary increases.

Had we passed the budget on time last year, the salary increase of government employees would have taken effect already. As long as the budget is not passed yet, they still will not receive the increase in their salaries. So I would to tell the government employees that the delay is not caused by the Senate, we have even organized ourselves into a Committee of the Whole to fast-track the budget discussion, says Villar.

According to Villar, if the proposed 2006 national budget would not be passed before the end of the first quarter, it would be better to just reenact it for the whole year. If the budget would passed by May or June already, there is even more chances for the funds to be used in questionable ways. So it is better to reenact it for the year and just pass a supplementary budget, just so we can release the salary increases of government employees.

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