THERE is no conflict between the legislative and executive in the budget deliberations.
Thus said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano as he clarified that the reason why Congress is scrutinizing the proposed budget is to ensure that the allocations will be transparent and done properly.
The Executive branch, represented by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), has submitted a National Expenditure Program (NEP) which contains the 2021 budget proposal amounting to P4.5 trillion.
Through the House committee on appropriations chaired by ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, the House members has started deliberating on the proposed budget.
Cayetano said the House of Representatives wants to work closely with the Executive Department and not against it in crafting the P4.5-trillion budget for 2021.
He said the House wants to scrutinize the proposed budget not because there is an “Executive against the Legislative” conflict but because it wants to help the Duterte administration fulfill its vow of “Mabilis na Aksyon, Matapang na Solusyon.”
“Alam natin y’ung simpleng pagbabudget ng isang ina ng tahanan or ng isang may-ari ng negosyo or kahit y’ung chief financial officer ng DZRH, mahirap nang magplano for a year ahead eh. Pero ngayong may COVID pa, lalong mahirap. So, hindi lang pagbusisi kung hindi sisiguraduhin namin the departments do not give us old solutions to new problems,” Cayetano said.
“It’s not only the amount of money but gusto naming marinig paano mapakikinabangan ito ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.
In his opening speech during the hearing, Cayetano gave as an example the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) that was implemented to ease the difficulties of those who lost jobs and income because of the pandemic lockdown.
“In the distribution ng SAP, we want to hear whether this year we can implement the national ID, whether or not there is an electronic way of transferring money to 80 to a hundred percent of our people,” he said.
Cayetano said the House also wants to hear what new programs the Department of Health (DOH) wants to implement.
“Will we finally be focusing on primary health and what will be the innovations,” he said.
Cayetano also clarified that simply shifting to a digital system of governance is not enough.
“Let me now warn each and every agency of government — we’re going to look at how you’ve been dealing with people during the pandemic. So, kung nag-move nga kayo online, tapos ang nangyari naman sa online ay offline naman kayo or puno (ang linya), [e di] wala ring nagawa,” he also said.