AKBAYAN Senator Risa Hontiveros Explanation of “No” Vote Ratification of General Appropriations Bill

Mr. President, I vote No to the Ratification or the Bicameral Conference Committee Report on the General Appropriations Bill.

When I gave my Yes Vote to the Senate version of the budget, I had hoped that we can fight for and retain a budget version that will satisfy the standards as provided for us by the Supreme Court on the proper planning, allocation and disbursement of the nation’s coffers. After all, our version had restored or provided more budgets for health and other social services.

The events of the past weeks only showcased the brazen display of political bullying by a House that refuses to budge and explain the allocation of unconscionable amounts to certain favored geographic units without going through the usual evidence-based planning and budgeting process. Despite efforts to remove these anomalies, these remain in the budget. This budget confirms the democratic deficit in our process that still allowed the old system of patronage and the lack of transparency in the budgeting process.

I vote No, Mr. President, because from the start, the DBM handed Congress a deficient NEP, then the House of Representatives handed us an even more problematic Appropriations Bill. Many of us worked to address the problems, but our methods seem only to have added to the mad scramble for public funds, as another election season approaches. This does not bode well for our common aspirations of transparency and accountability which our people deserve.

Thank you, Mr. President.

Photo Credit: https://facebook.com/hontiverosrisa/

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