House think tank finds out ₧125.1B needed to implement unfunded laws
THE Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) of the House of Representatives said the funding deficiency for the implementation of laws enacted from 1991 to 2015 has reached P125.1 billion as of October 2015.
The lower chamber’s think tank, citing the Department of Budget and Management’s Fiscal Planning and Reforms Bureau, also said out of the P367.3 billion total quantifiable funding requirements, only 66 percent, or P242.2 billion, had been allocated so far.
“The economic services sector had the highest funding deficiency of P79 billion, or 63.1 percent; followed by defense at P20.3 billion, or 16.2 percent; and social services at P15.5 billion, or 12.4 percent,” said the CPBRD. The research body said almost 90 percent of the P125.1-billion, funding deficiency pertained to the following: the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program at P37.4 billion; Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program of 2012 at P20.3 billion; National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013 at P20 billion; Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008 at P13.8 billion; Comprehensive and Integrated Shelter Financing Act of 1994 at P11 billion; and payment to or claims of victims of human-rights violation during the Marcos regime at P9.9 billion.
By subsector, under the economic services, the CPBRD said Agricultural/Agrarian posted the highest deficiency at P40.2 billion, or 51 percent, out of P70 billion. It added laws with funding deficiencies under the Agri/Agra are the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (P37.4 billion); the Philippine Fisheries Code (P1.5 billion); National Dairy Act (P1.1 billion); and the Sugarcane Industry Act (P206 million).
The P20 billion funding deficiency in the energy subsector under the economic services pertained to the National Electrification Administration (Republic Act 10531), the CPBRD said.
Meanwhile, it also said the Civil Aviation Authority Act of 2008, which is under the infrastructure/ transportation and communications subsector, had a funding deficiency of P13.8 billion as of October 2015. Other laws with funding deficiencies were People’s Development Trust Fund (P4.4 billion); Revitalizing the People’s Television Network (P3.3 billion); Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998 (P1.5 billion); Freeport Area of Bataan (P1.4 billion); National Dairy Development Act ( P1.1 billion); Bureau of Corrections Modernization (P382.5 million); Sugar Industry Act (P206.2 million); Dagupan Fishport (P140 million); National Privacy Commission (P70 million); Mindanao University of Science and Technology (P50 million); and Cybercrime Act (P24.6 million); according to the research body.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the lower chamber hopes to pass the Fiscal Responsibility Bill to address the problem on unfunded laws before the 16th Congress goes on a break on February 6 to May 22 for the 2016 national and local elections. He said the measure is among the priority bills proposed by the Palace, House of Representatives and Senate, to control the proliferation of unfunded laws.
“Among its provisions is that no expenditure measure shall be passed and take effect without a new revenue generation or expenditure-reduction measure. The bill is pending at the committee level,” Belmonte said. For his part, Nationalist People’s Coalition Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian of Valenzuela said the leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate should find out why these laws are unfunded, and what are the repercussions of unfunded laws.
“We have to find out one by one why these laws are unfunded and what are the repercussions of these unfunded laws. For me, unfunded laws are tantamount to useless pieces of paper. We have to either repeal the law or amend it.
We have to find out first what will be the impact,” Gatchalian said. “Unfunded laws deprive the Filipino people of services and programs that can be helpful to our lives,” he added. For his part, Party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz of Abakada said “the government should review all of these laws to determine duplications, if any.” Party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption said further research on these unfunded laws is needed.
“That way, we will be able to determine what laws should be prioritized for funding, especially those that are for special services,” Tugna added.