Press Release
June 25, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today rejected Budget and Management Secretary Rolando Andayas proposal for the Senate to adopt the House version of the 2006 national budget in its entirety as a way out of the deadlock over the appropriations measure.

Pimentel said a better option is for the Senate and House panels in the bicameral conference committee to work out a reasonable compromise on the budget cuts made by the Senate.

If the 2006 budget is to be passed, there must be revisions that are good for the country, not for the good of the President, the members of Congress, and other officials, he said.

Pimentel said the failure to pass the 2006 budget is unfair to the Department of Education which is starved of funds.

The Department of Science and Technology, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Agrarian Reform likewise need funds that could be sourced from the bloated allocations for other departments including the Office of the President, he said.

If the 2006 budget is not passed, the DepEd will be deprived of P11.5 billion additional funds intended to improve the school system.

On Andayas suggestion for the Senate to approve the P1.053 trillion budget passed by the House without cuts, Pimentel said this will make a mockery of the budget process in which both the Senate and House of Representatives should exercise their constitutional powers to appropriate funds for government operations guided by the principle that public interest should take precedence over any other considerations.

The minority leader said the budget stalemate can be broken if Malacañang will allow the bicameral conference committee to look for mutually acceptable compromise on the conflicting provisions between the Senate and House versions of the budget bill, instead of trying to ram down its will and position on the lawmakers throats.

He said a reenacted 2005 national budget, as a consequence of the non-passage of the 2006 budget, is a big blow to the Arroyo administration because it will lose P150 billion additional funding and disadvantageous to the ordinary Filipinos who expect improved delivery of public services and implementation of new social and economic projects.

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