Lawmakers laud signing of P1.645-trillion 2011 budget PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 14:46

Lawmakers on Monday lauded the signing of President Benigno S. Aquino III of the P1.645- trillion national budget for 2011.

"I am happy and grateful for the Congress vote of confidence in President Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Now it is up to the executive department to spend it wisely and on time," said House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. in a text message.

The early signing of the 2011 national budget "signals our determination to institute greater discipline and responsiveness in the utilization of government resources. By this action, we make known our resolve to promote greater confidence and predictability in the operations of our government," he said.

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II said the President’s signing of the budget "is the best way of showing to the Filipino people that the government is serious in and with its fiscal management and responsibility."

Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of the House appropriations committee, said the signing of the budget supported the Aquino government’s thrust towards good governance.

"For the first time in 11 years, the budget is signed on the same year it was passed. It puts an end to the reenacted budget years. We have set a new standard as far as the budget process is concerned. We shall maintain if not improve on it," said Abaya in a text message.

He noted that the early signing of the 2011 national budget allowed the immediate implementation of the projects lined up by the new government.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the timely approval of the budget would further bolster investor confidence in the country as it signaled a more stable economic environment.

Thus, Evardone urged the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to come up with a performance-based utilization of funds of agencies.

"This means that budget allocations of departments and agencies should only be released based on their performance and absorptive capacity," he said.

The Eastern Samar lawmaker said that civil society and non-government organizations (NGOs) should also activate monitoring teams to ensure transparent budget utilization.

Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., chairman of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, expressed confidence that the 2011 budget would address the problem of mounting unemployment in the country.

"Government is the country's single largest consumer and biggest employer. Its spending will help propel economic as well as jobs growth next year," said Barzaga in a press statement.

He said the government would pay out some P526 billion in salaries and benefits to public sector workers next year, thus driving household consumption spending.

"Government spending will stimulate in a big way the demand for goods and services, and in the process energize local industries," the Cavite lawmaker said.

Barzaga said that next year's budget represented almost one-fifth, or 18.2 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The budget's P148.2-billion fresh allocation for new public infrastructure spending would also be another driver of employment growth, he said.

Negros Occidental Rep. Ignacio "Iggy" Arroyo Jr. also welcomed the signing of the 2011 national budget.

"That will ensure the timely implementation of the national budget without having to rely on a reenacted budget at the beginning of the year," he said.