May 10, 2012
SEN. GUINGONA DIRECTS DBM TO LOOK INTO AGENCIES'
Several months before the budget reaches the Senate, Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III has started reviewing several reports from the Commission on Audit and is appalled to discover that some government agencies have been maintaining idle financial accounts with appropriated but unused funds that could have benefitted projects that address the needs of the people.
As an advocate for a responsive, well-managed and people-centered government budget, Sen. Guingona warned government institutions with idle accounts to think carefully before asking for further increases in their budget for the year 2013.
Likewise, Sen. Guingona urges Budget Secretary Florencio "Butch" Abad to scrutinize these accounts and promises to do the same as soon the budget document reaches the Senate.
Sen. Guingona, who chairs the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, believes that this situation could be brought about by inefficiency on the part of the agency- its failure to implement a project- or even the sheer refusal to perform its duty under the law.
On a more alarming point, the senator fears that idle funds are easy targets for those who have intentions of using public funds for private purposes.
"These funds were appropriated because these agencies told the DBM that that they had projects and programs that should be funded with people's money. If the funds are not spent, these agencies should be accountable," he said.
The technical budget hearing for the 2013 general appropriations has already started at the DBM level. The government departments and agencies have already submitted their proposed budget for 2013 to DBM.
Sen. Guingona stressed that before agencies start asking Congress for increases in their budget, these offices should first be made to understand that it has the duty to properly use appropriated funds for projects that have direct, immediate, and substantial impact on the lives of Filipinos, especially the poor and the marginalized.
"Not using the funds is a great disservice to the Filipinos who rely on government to do its job. If there's so much money lying around, idle and unused, it just means that these same funds are not being used to provide better services for the country," Sen. Guingona emphasized.
The good governance champion is pushing for closer scrutiny of idle accounts in order to exact accountabilities from concerned government agencies.
"Bubusisiin nating mabuti kung bakit nangyari at nangyayari ito. Titingnan rin natin kung may pananagutan ang mga ahensiyang ito. Kung mayroon man, dapat na magkaroon ng karampatang parusa para sa kanilang maling paghawak ng pera ng taumbayan," Sen. Guingona added.
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