Press Release
August 8, 2006

Andaya to explain need for P46.4 B supplemental budget
before Senate Finance Committee, says Drilon

Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya has agreed to brief the powerful Senate Finance Committee on the "merits and urgency" of President Gloria Macapgal-Arroyo's request for a P46.4 billion supplemental budget following Malacañang 's failure to get Congress' nod on the proposed P1.053 trillion 2006 budget, Senate Finance Committee Chief Franklin Drilon said today.

Drilon said Andaya will brief the members of the Finance Committee in a caucus on tomorrow, Aug. 9 at 1:00 p.m. at the Sen. Pecson Room to discuss the proposed supplemental budget.

Drilon, the former Senate Chief who now heads the Finance Committee, said he was willing to listen to Malacañang 's request for the enactment of a supplemental budget which Andaya said in a letter would "cover the funding deficiencies of the government in the event that the 2006 national budget is unacted upon by Congress."

Drilon said other members of President Arroyo's Cabinet who are seeking additional appropriations for their respective departments have also been invited to justify the request for supplemental budget.

The members of the Senate Finance Committee are Senators Ralph Recto, Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Rodolfo Biazon, Ramon Magsaysay Jr., Ricardo Gordon, Mar Roxas, Bong Revilla, Lito Lapid, Juan Ponce Enrile, Sergio Osmena, Edgardo Angara, Alfredo Lim, Panfilo Lacson, Jamby Madrigal, and Loi Ejercito. Ex-officio members are Juan Flavier, Francis Pangilinan and Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

After a long delay in the House of Representatives, Congress failed to approve the country's 2006 national budget last June after the Senate slashed the proposal by P64 billion on grounds that they were mostly pork barrel funds. Imposing an "all or nothing" stand, President Arroyo threatened to veto any budget approved by Congress that would contain Senate cuts which resulted to a standoff between executive and legislative departments.

On Thursday, Drilon also said he would endorse the approval of a provision in the proposed 2006 supplemental budget mandating the automatic appropriation of all local government shares in the national tax collection in order "to spare local officials from the ugly chore of having to play politics with Malacañang and Congress just to get what is already rightfully theirs under the Local Government Code."

Under the proposed supplemental budget, Drilon noted, Andaya had listed an amount of P14,867,000,000 as an additional Allocation for Local Government Units Internal Revenue Allotment (ALGU-IRA) with a recommendation that "all future local government shares in the national internal revenue taxes or IRA shall henceforth be automatically appropriated."

"I am certainly in favor of the automatic appropriation of the IRA of local government units not only because it follows the decision of the Supreme Court on the matter but also in fairness to local officials who are oftentimes forced to unnecessarily cater to the whims of Malacañang and Congress officials just to get what is rightfully theirs," Drilon said.

Drilon said the Supreme Court, on a petition filed by Batangas Rep. Herminaldo Mandanas, ruled that the withholding the IRA from local officials by Malacanang was unconstitutional and violated Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991.

Andaya said President Arroyo will seek a national budget of 1.137 trillion pesos in 2007 to support a massive investment program. He said the 2007 budget proposal was a pro-growth measure that increases spending in all areas except for debt service, thanks to robust tax collection.

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