ith the House of Representatives set to begin budget deliberations on Friday, House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr. has assured the public that members of the Minority will thoroughly review the 2021 national budget to ensure that funds go where they are most needed and financial resources are not wasted on unnecessary items.
In a media briefing on Wednesday, Abante pointed out that if the theme for the P4.506 trillion 2021 national budget is “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability,” when it comes to the budget deliberations, the Minority will be guided by the theme “Review, Reassess, and Reallocate.”
“This does not mean we will not cooperate with efforts to pass the budget as fast as humanly possible.”
“Let me stress that while we are grateful to the Executive for preparing this budget and we respect the work they have put into it, we as legislators are duty-bound to review the budget, reassess the priorities and line items, if necessary, and reallocate funds to other programs and projects that we believe require additional financial resources,” explained Abante.
“This does not mean we will not cooperate with efforts to pass the budget as fast as humanly possible,” said the legislator from Manila.
The solon said that “agree ako kay Speaker na kailangan ng bayanihan, kailangan natin magkaisa upang maipasa ang budget ng maaga para makatutok ang gobyerno sa economic recovery efforts.”
“However, if the pandemic is the rationale behind fast-tracking the budget, it is also the rationale behind making sure that every centavo the government spends is spent the right way, for the programs that we genuinely need, for the sectors that need them the most.”
“It is the duty of every legislator, not just those in the Minority, to pore over these details.”
Likening the national budget to that of the budget of a family with a sick relative, Abante said that in such a situation a family “must be more careful and prudent in their spending and identify items in their budget that they need and eliminate items that are unnecessary and superfluous; wala munang mga luho, ika nga.”
“At first glance, the budget appears to have its priorities in order. But, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details––and it is the duty of every legislator, not just those in the Minority, to pore over these details and make sure that every peso in that budget redounds to the benefit of our constituents,” the lawmaker emphasized
“Makakaasa po kayo na tututok ang Minority sa budget, ire-review ito ng masinsinan, ire-reassess ang mga programa kung kinakailangan, at ire-reallocate ang pondo para sa ikabubuti ng ating mga kababayan.”