Casiño objects approval to the 2013 proposed budget

BAYAN MUNA Rep. Teddy Casiño has epxressed objection to the approval of the proposed 2013 budget because it remains unresponsive to the needs of our constituents, especially the poor and the marginalized.

Casino, in a turno en contra speech delivered at the House of Representatives, said,” I feel that the government has shortchanged our people.”

Contrary to the executive’s claim that it is a budget of empowerment, the 2013 budget, though seemingly larger, will bring about exclusive and unsustainable growth. It might indeed bring about rapid growth but not of the quality we want, he said.

“First of all, it does not address the problem of poverty that is rooted in unemployment, underemployment and a flawed development framework. Sure we have CCT that will temporarily augment the income of some poor families, but what then? What will happen when the program stops? Will we have 3.8M households with adequate and sustainable incomes? No because it is not the objective of the CCT to provide jobs or livelihoods.

” I find the supposedly accompanying livelihood programs (SEA-K at P1.5B and KALAHI CIDSS at P497M) grossly insufficient in reach and funding compared to the mammoth CCT budget of P44.3B. Or take the case of the budget for SME development which is a miniscule P1.5B meant to service a huge sector that provides 63% of employment.

“This budget of empowerment is supposed to prioritize “funding for public services that provide jobs, educate our youth, ensure a healthier citizenry, and empower each Filipino to participate in economic activity” but not only does it not provide quality jobs, it still fails to adequately fund for the education and the health care of the citizenry. The DOH originally requested for a budget of P79.3B but was only approved P40.1B, meaning a whopping 50.6% was slashed from their proposal. For the 66 DOH-retained hospitals, P9.83B was allotted, a far cry from the P19.23B they requested. Meanwhile, 110 State Universities and Colleges will have to be content with P37.1B after their P54.6B proposal was slashed by 68%.

“If we look at the amount allotted for debt servicing, it is already two times that allotted for the total budget on education and 17 times the budget for health. Why are giving Philhealth P12.6B when it already has bloated reserves of P101B which is twice the entire DOH budget yet serves only 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients? Why not allot this money for our public hospitals to ensure that it serves actual poor patients?

“I will not anymore repeat the arguments I raised during the course of this year’s budget deliberations and in previous budget debates. The point is, and this is just a repetition of what I said last year, “If the administration is serious in improving access and quality of education and health, it should put its money where its mouth is.”

“Lastly, on the matter of transparency, how can we approve on 2nd reading a measure whose amendments we have never approved or even discussed? This is the third budget under the Tuwid na Daan and yet we continue the practice of approving an incomplete budget without incorporating the committee or individual amendments. Again, we will allow a small group of congressmen to reject or approve our proposed amendments without benefit of a vote in plenary. In the end, everything will be left to the bicameral conference committee where the horse trading happens hidden from public scrutiny and without our participation.

“For this reasons, Mr. Speaker, I object to the approval of the 2013 budget.”

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