Press Release
August 9, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara appealed to the government to make better use of unutilized funds from the 2011 budget instead of letting them lie useless when there are vast infrastructure investments needing to be made.

The cabinet, led by Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, reported at the budget hearing today that only P698 billion of the P1.7 trillion budget for the year has been spent so far.

"I cannot explain or justify it even to myself why we are hoarding so much public money. In public finance, money unspent is money useless," said Angara.

He urged the government to realign funds to more productive use especially past the half year mark. "After a mid-year evaluation of the budget utilization, the government should make the initiative to realign unspent public funds--of which there is so much of lying around--toward infrastructure projects for countryside development."

Angara, vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, also proposed that the Department of Budget and Management make use of the substantial amount unspent from the CCT, as well as from unimplemented PPP projects, to fund the building of public school classrooms.

"The quickest way to go about it is to contract it out to, say, the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and guarantee these classroom construction projects against the millions left unspent," said Angara, referring to the Php10.3 billion left over from the government's school building program for the year.

Abad said that the carryover from the school building program is so large because it typically takes the Department of Education between 12 to 24 months to use up the funds.

The DepEd currently lacks 66,800 classrooms.

Angara said that school-building should be opened up to the private sector, with the budget earmarked used as a guarantee. "With that amount as a guarantee, private construction companies will be scrambling to join these projects," he said.

At the start of the 15th Congress in July last year, Angara filed Senate Bill No. 2025 or the School Building Program act. This employs the build-operate-transfer, rehabilitate-operate-transfer, and other contractual arrangements that will allow the use of both government and private funds to finance the construction of needed school buildings. The proposed program also provides for the monitoring and maintenance of existing educational facilities throughout the country.

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