2016 budget, fund for bad policies, corruption

PRESIDENT AQUINO SIGNS P3T NATIONAL BUDGET/ DECEMBER 22, 2015 President Benigno S. Aquino III signs into law Republic Act No. 10717, the P3.002-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for Fiscal Year 2016, during the Presidential Enactment Ceremony at the Rizal Ceremonial Hall of the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday (December 22, 2015). Witnessing the ceremony are Senate President Franklin Drilon, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and members of the House of Representatives and Senate, Cabinet Members, Diplomatic Corps, Business development Partners, 4P’s beneficiaries and other guests.  INQUIRER PHOTO/JOAN BONDO

(1) Pres. Noynoy Aquino calls the 2016 national budget “historic,” but it is still a budget for bad policies and for corruption and patronage. Passing a national budget before the year ends is not proof that national coffers are not being plundered. Public funds are still not being spent for the Filipino workers and people.

(2) Aquino tries to score propaganda points by accusing his predecessor of reenacting national budgets in order to pocket public funds. Yet he has failed to back these allegations up with charges and to secure a conviction despite being president for five years. We dare him: file more corruption charges against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in relation to the national budgets passed under her term.

(3) The P436.5-billion budget for the DepEd is allotted to the implementation of the K+12 program, which aims to produce cheap and repressed Filipino labor and deny the majority of Filipino youth a chance to go to college.

The P400.4-billion budget for the DPWH and a segment of the DILG budget will surely go to corruption and patronage in connection with the 2016 national elections. All over Metro Manila, for example, roads that were in fine condition have been destroyed and repaired so that politicians can get their kickbacks. Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation has earlier warned that mechanisms similar to the DAP, responsible for increasing presidential pork, are retained in the proposed budget and that other pork barrel funds have been increased.

The P241.75 billion allotted to the DND and DILG will surely be pocketed by top military and police officials and be used to fund the implementation of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan. The counter-insurgency plan has meant the militarization of the countryside, especially in Mindanao, the extra-judicial killings and illegal arrest and detention of activists, and other human rights violations.

Ibon has also warned the public of the existence of no less than P65.9 billion funds for projects under the Public-Private Partnership program. A big segment of the fund will be subsidies for the profits of Aquino’s cronies, the big capitalists who are beneficiaries of the PPP program.

Instead of implementing genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization in order to create decent jobs, Aquino is allotting P62.7 billion for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) conditional cash transfer program. The 4Ps is a palliative that won’t solve widespread joblessness, landlessness, poverty and hunger in the country.

(4) We condemn Aquino for ignoring the calls of government employees for a significant wage hike and of SSS pensioners for a pension hike. The 2016 national budget does not contain allocation for a significant increase in the monthly pay of government employees. Aquino signed the national budget into law but refuses to sign House Bill 5842, which was filed by Cong. Neri Colmenares and seeks a P2,000 across-the-board hike in pensioners of the SSS.