Aquino regime underspent P1T
The Aquino administration failed to spend a total of P1 trillion in appropriations, resulting in “huge” lost economic opportunities to improve infrastructure and create jobs, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.
As for the Duterte administration, Diokno told the House appropriations committee last Monday that there would be no underspending in the next six years.
In a text message, Diokno said that the P1 trillion in funds left unspent by the previous administration reflected lost opportunities that were “huge in terms of jobs lost and economic opportunities if the infrastructure projects were started and completed.”
The latest Department of Budget and Management (DBM) data showed that in the first half of 2016, the Aquino administration disbursed P229 billion for infrastructure and other capital outlays, up 52.3 percent from P150.4 billion a year ago, but 12.2-percent below the P260.8-billion program for the six-month period.
In a report, the DBM blamed the underspending on infrastructure and other capital outlays during the first six months to “low obligations of some implementing agencies arising from procurement difficulties and delays in program/project execution due to the election ban.”
For the part of the Duterte administration, Diokno said they aimed to overcome underspending through a number of measures, including 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week construction work on major infrastructure projects in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.
Also, the DBM wanted to simplify the implementing rules and regulations of the Government Procurement Reform Law as the procurement process was identified as among the causes of delay in the implementation of projects, resulting in underspending, Diokno said.
The government would also strengthen project monitoring, specifically by tapping the electronic-tagging technology being used by the Department of Science and Technology in Project NOAH (National Operational Assessment of Hazards), the Budget chief added.
Diokno said Cabinet secretaries as well as senior government officials would be capacitated as well as made accountable for the expenditures of their respective agencies. “If you do not perform, you’re out,” he said.
The passage of the proposed budget reform act, aimed at curbing the abuses in the exercise of budget preparation and execution, would also be pursued “to restore public trust in the government,” according to Diokno. Ben O. de Vera
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