Press Release
June 7, 2006

To end budget stalemate : Senate must restore, Palace must revise

As the Senate and the House-Palace axis have dug in their respective hardline positions on the deadlocked 2006 national budget, a senator has called for the forging of a common ground that will jumpstart the stalled talks.

Recto said the Senate should agree to the full restoration of the P26 billion in programmed funds it sliced from the P1.053 trillion proposed outlay.

Per Rectos formula, the Palace then reciprocates the move by agreeing to the recasting of the restored amounts.

This means that not all of the P26 .4 billion will be put back in their original programs and projects. For example, the Palace should agree that some of the restored items be added to the education budget, given the backlog in teachers, he said.

Recto said the problem of the stalled budget talks emanate from the belief of Malacanang that the budget is chiseled in stone, some sort of a Ten Commandments in spending that you cant even touch it.

When one believes that his or her idea is infallible, then thats when trouble begins, he said. Our people are getting impatient and tired of our antics. Perhaps a little humility will help.

He said no one wins in the ongoing trench warfare on the budget.

The Palace loses because it is given a lower spending ceiling. Our people lose because they shall be deprived of higher spending that has been promised them. The politicians will lose their face, as well as their projects, for failing to deliver on their promise to deliver a budget.

Recto said the two panels should earnestly draw up items in the budget that can be augmented and submit them in joint sponsorship so nobody will get the bragging rights that this or that amendment was his idea.

To avoid any accusation that the P26 billion will be carved into mini pork barrels, Recto said these should all be given to the President to implement with no conditionality that a member of Congress should be consulted prior to its implementation.

Recto suggested that in the recasting of the budget, the bicameral conference adopts the H-E-A-R-T-S template, meaning only those for health, education, agriculture, roads, technology and security activities will be entertained.

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