Press Release
September 7, 2010


During the start of deliberations on the proposed P1.645-trillion budget for 2011 held by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, Senator Edgardo J. Angara expressed his reservations about the proposed budget, saying it simply did not address the fundamental needs of our country.

"My main concern about the overall budget framework is that it is not responding to the basic, economic, and social problems of our country. About 70 percent of our people live on 42 pesos a day, and about 4,000 families are hungry. That's a very serious problem. It's not just simply lack of economic growth, but what we have is a jobless growth which widens the income gap even more," he said.

Angara, former chair of the Finance Committee, said "We should concern ourselves not so much with taming our deficit. Instead we should remind ourselves that our goal is to grow our country, and enhance the income and living standards of our people through job creation."

"What is the comparative figure for southeast Asia? Their debt-to-GDP ratio is even higher than ours but they are more progressive because they are using public spending to stimulate growth in their economy. Why are we suddenly pulling out stimulus right in the middle of a steady, gradual recovery of our economy? It's as if we assume we have already achieved full recovery, which we have not. I question that kind of judgment," said Angara.

Angara also stressed the need to identify the demographics of the country's poor, and to design a hunger mitigation program specific to their needs.

"It seems as if there is not much of this proposed budget put into agriculture and food. And because food production is underinvested, food prices will rise in the next five years. On the other hand, a 1 percent increase in agriculture production transmits to almost 1.2 percent in farmers' income, or reduction of farmers' poverty," said Angara.

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