STATEMENT of Albay 2nd district Representative Joey Sarte Salceda, Principal author and sponsor on the approval of HB 9513 by the House Committee on Appropriations
“The focus of discussions on the funding of unprogrammed appropriations should be our economic and social objectives. We need to release 11.3% more funds this year than last year to meet our 6.0% real GDP growth target. Every 1.0% in real GDP growth that we miss is 180,000 families that fall below the poverty line.
As the Q2 GDP numbers warn us, when we underspend, the economy underperforms. Fortunately, the government took this cautionary tale to heed, and we accelerated spending in Q3. But we have only released P261 billion in unprogrammed allocations as of October 2023, and need to release another P266 billion in order to meet what I believe is the necessary level of government spending to meet our growth target.
In other words, we have a clear statement of the problem. The only question that remains is the best and most efficient method of action.
I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that the regular budget of agencies, especially social welfare agencies, should be increased. In a perfect world where we are not bound by the government’s borrowing program, this is what government should have rightfully pursued.
The increase in unprogrammed appropriations this year gave us the flexibility to adapt to evolving fiscal and economic conditions. If we are able to find sources, as we are trying to do now, we would be able to meet our objectives.
GOCCs are awash with cash and will continue to be so, because the Dividend Law only requires the remittance of half of NET EARNINGS, not excess ACCUMULATED PROFITS over the years.
It makes even more sense to be able to make equity withdrawals when you look at profitable GOCCs that receive subsidies that the Government has to borrow for.
I welcome the efforts of our colleagues to scrutinize the spending of unprogrammed appropriations and to prioritize social spending for these funds. Subject to the collective wisdom of the House and its leadership, I will accept such amendments at the proper time”.