Press Release
July 25, 2006

Palace will have to supersize the budget
to fund super regions -Recto

Malacañang may have to super size the 2007 budget to finance the growth of the five super regions President Arroyo unveiled in his Monday SONA.

Sen. Ralph Recto said the template of the 2007 budget pegged according to reports at P1.14 trillion by the Department of Budget and Management will have to be revamped to accommodate the SONA package.

The proof of the SONA will be in the budget pie. If it is in the budget , then SONA rhetoric becomes reality. Saying it in the SONA is wish ko lang. Putting it in the budget is saying I will do it, he said .

Recto said if this years capital outlay level of P120 billion , or funds for infrastructure and equipment purchase , will be increased to P150 billion next year, then the growth is not commensurate with what the super regions require.

One option , Recto said is to increase the budget ceiling , and hope that good revenue collection can cover the hike in spending .

Due to the tightness of the budget , it will be impossible to dislodge items in the budget and replace it the projects spelled out by President Arroyo in her speech before Congress.

Besides what is there to dislodge ? Payroll ? Debt service ? These are fixed expenditures. The only way to do it is raise the budget ceiling , he said .

Recto said delaying the submission of the budget to Congress by a week is no big deal for as long as the SONA projects are included.

The Constitution gives the president 30 days from the date of the SONA to submit the national budget to Congress . Despite this one-month deadline, the DBM said it will send the bill early this year.

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