Friday, August 28, 2009

'We can't afford a re-enacted budget,' says House Speaker

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Prospero Nograles said there will be no re-enacted budget for 2010, stressing that the proposed General Appropriations Act contains the funding for the 2010 elections.

"The country cannot afford such a scenario," the Speaker said a day following the formal submission by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of what she calls a "decisive" budget that "stands on solid ground."

"The timetable could be tight but early passage is not impossible. We will be deliberate but thorough in the consideration of the P1.541-trillion legacy budget," Nograles said.

Nograles, at the same time, assured that Congress, during its GAA deliberations will make sure that enough funds are allotted and focused on infrastructure, education, agriculture, health, poverty reduction, and good governance.

"We want to see that vital ongoing programs and projects would see completion by next year so we can promote productivity and economic competitiveness of the country," Nograles said.

The House leader, however, expressed confidence that the members of the majority coalition, the party list members and independents and the minority group will, in the end and soon, agree on "what is best for the country."

The House leader could not but agree with the President who, in her budget message, said that "the global turmoil has made the deficit a necessary evil."

The President revealed that from an original target of P40-billion deficit for 2009, it was increased to P250-billion "to counter the detrimental effects of the global recession which started in 2008."

"In 2010, our fiscal strategy is to reduce the deficit to P233.4-billion, from this year's 3.2 percent of GDP top 2.8 percent of GDP, which implies an absolute decline in the deficit level," the President said.

"We will closely study these figures presented to Congress by the Palace. We will make sure that policies are relevant to the dictates of the times," Nograles concluded. (Gil Bugaoisan)

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