Press Release
August 14, 2018


"A reenacted budget will reenact 'Arroyonomics' infamous for playing fast and loose with public funds."

This was the statement issued today by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros after the House of Representatives suspended deliberations on the proposed P3.757-trillion cash-based budget for 2019.

It was reported that Congress is opposing the proposed cash-based budget in favor of the obligation-based appropriations to ensure more funding for their districts and constituencies. As a response, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that they are prepared to reenact this year's fiscal program in the event that Congress rejects the proposed 2019 budget.

"A government operating on a reenacted budget is subject to realignment by the Executive. When the practice of reenacting budgets is combined with the President's other fiscal powers such as the power to realign the budget, it results in the accumulation of more funds outside of what is provided by the appropriations bill," Hontiveros said.

"The Executive can easily be tempted to exploit the impasse, seriously consider a reenacted budget and exercise its unregulated presidential powers over the budget in order to acquire more funds without a clear mandate. Lest we forget, the 2019 midterm elections is just around the corner. With a reenacted budget, the government creates so-called savings from the reallocated funds for projects already completed last year to buy off political support. In such a scenario, the reenacted budget becomes the President's pork barrel fund," Hontiveros stressed.

Hontiveros said that during the nine-year term of former President and now Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the national government budget was reenacted several times. This allowed the Arroyo government to have the full discretion in the disbursement and realignment of public funds to promote its political interests. She also warned that a reenacted budget will be very bad for the economy since it is clear that new capital expenditures cannot be implemented until a new budget is passed.

The opposition Senator appealed to House leaders to resume deliberations of the proposed budget law. She said that the concerns of lawmakers can be addressed without delaying the passage of next year's budget.

"Let us use the budget process to address the strategic issues of procurement and the general competency of the bureacracy in terms of planning and execution in order to design good policies for efficient delivery. We should also support the passage of the Budget Reform Bill, which is sponsored in the Senate by Senator Loren Legarda. The people's budget must be spared from avoidable fiscal conflicts that will only allow the Executive to abuse the nation's coffers," Hontiveros concluded.

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