Oppotunity lost

February 01, 2019

We hate to say this, but re-enacting the previous year’s budget simply means lawmakers refuse to do their jobs.

Needless to say here, every budget for a particular fiscal year is unique because the requirement of government operations and the financial demands of development programs and projects are unique or bound to a specific period or timeframe.

Besides, the approval of the annual budget is an exclusive duty of Congress to accomplish every year.

Therefore, it will be a monumental dereliction of duty for Congress to rehash last year’s budget and apply the same to meet the current year’s fiscal requirements.

Malacañang on Thursday described a reenacted budget for the entire 2019 as “lost opportunities for higher economic growth.”

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this reaction after Senate President Vicente Sotto III proposed on Wednesday to withdraw the Senate-approved General Appropriation Bill (GAB) and go for a reenacted budget.

“A reenacted budget as a result of a budget impasse would hurt our economy. This would translate to lost opportunities for higher growth as our economic managers are estimating a loss of 1 to 2.3 percentage points in the full-year gross domestic product in the event that the 2019 budget will not be passed,” Panelo said in a statement.

Panelo pointed out that a reenacted budget would also affect the government’s” Build, Build, Build” infrastructure projects which are in various stages of implementation.

He said programs of various departments this year intended for poverty reduction, health promotion, and peace and security advancement would also be affected.

Moreover, he said delays in the completion of transport and road networks would also mean fewer job openings for Filipinos.

“The ordinary Filipino would be the one greatly affected as there would be fewer openings of employment for him or her, not to mention lesser work productivity for those employed as a result of delays in the completion of badly needed transport and road network,” Panelo said.

Panelo, meanwhile, said Congress must realize “dire consequences” of a reenacted budget as he urged lawmakers to immediately pass the GAB.

“The honorable members of Congress know of the dire consequences of a reenacted budget and we are appreciative of the statement made by some members of the bilateral committee that it will endeavor to pass the General Appropriations Bill next week,” Panelo said.