Press Release
July 19, 2006

Restart the stalled 2006 budget talks Recto
Better than proposing supplemental budget

Restarting the stalled 2006 budget talks will benefit the public more than the drafting of a supplemental budget this year as proposed by the country's Finance officials, Sen. Ralph Recto said.

"I think Malacañang should work on forging common ground with the House and the Senate so that the 2006 budget can be rescued from the archives, instead of going through another grueling campaign of having a supplemental budget passed," Recto said.

"The 2006 budget is in its finishing stage. Ito ay malapit nang matapos. Ang supplemental budget ay nasa square one pa."

Recto said the 2006 budget is vastly superior than a reinforced, reenacted 2005 budget.

"If the supplemental budget is P50 billion as what Secretary Teves had announced and you add it to the P918 billion 2005 budget, which is deemed reenacted, it will amount to just P968 billion. That's a hundred billion pesos lower than the P1.053 Trillion ceiling proposed in the 2006 budget."

"In short, the public will be shortchanged by P100 billion. This may look good on the financial report card government will be showing its creditors but it also shows the money the people have been deprived of."

Recto feared that savings incurred as a result of a lower spending will just be channeled to debt payments given the propensity of the economic managers not to pass any opportunity to preterminate our debt."

Recto reminded the government that it entered into a contract with the people when it courted their support for new taxes that in exchange for their sacrifice there will be new investments in social services and infrastructure.

"The administration made a vow to plow back tax payments to the people and the budget supposed to be the instrument of refund. But, by angling for lower spending, it seems to be reneging on its promise."

Recto said a supplemental budget is tantamount to a budget cut.

To avoid the loss of this P100 billion, Recto called on reasonable men to let common sense prevail and pass the 2006 national budget.

This is the best way. Everybody wins. Local government units will get their IRA share. New education initiatives will be funded.

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