Press Release
July 14, 2015


Sen. Chiz Escudero said the national government should go beyond allocating funds and work harder to plug the loopholes in the budget process that prevent it from delivering basic services to the public in a timely manner.

Escudero, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the government needs to further streamline state agencies and offices whose functions are teeming with duplication in order to improve the budgeting process and public service delivery.

"An audit and analysis of the process of planning and budgeting will reveal the overlapping of functions of some government agencies," he said. "The government needs to close the gaps and fix the bottlenecks."

Some issues within government agencies, such as reporting of field data and jurisdictional conflicts among different offices under one department, however, impede the swift delivery of basic services, he said. "In the end, project implementation suffers and Filipinos don't get the services they need and deserve."

Malacañang is expected to submit to Congress its proposed P3.002 trillion national budget for 2016 on July 28, a day after President Benigno Aquino III delivers his final State of the Nation Address.

According to Escudero, the Senate finance panel will scrutinize the proposed budget of the administration in order to determine its spending plan, assess the implementation of current projects and arrest underspending.

Escudero shared the observation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Philippines needs to improve its unusually complex budgeting system and address the weaknesses in the quality and integrity of the country's fiscal data, partly reflecting multiple agencies having responsibilities for fiscal reporting.

"The key is to simplify the process of delivering basic services," Escudero said. "The proper and appropriate implementation of plans and programs depends on proper and appropriate fiscal reporting, forecasting and budgeting."

"The accurate reporting of public finances is a foundation of sound planning and project implementation. But sometimes, we don't get quality data because there are issues at the agency level," Escudero explained.

As head of the Senate budget panel, Escudero had already implemented a number of streamlining activities, including a detailed listing of farm-to-market road projects under the Department of Agriculture to avoid overlapping with the Department of Public Works and Highways.

He also pushed for a uniform formula for the fair and equitable distribution of Emergency Shelter Assistance funds for typhoon-affected local government units to prevent uncoordinated and ineffective response initiatives.

Escudero said that while the Aquino administration has adhered to a national policy of good governance, this policy is a "continuing concern."

"Obviously, much work still needs to be done to reform the government because good governance is always a continuing concern. Streamlining the bureaucracy is, by itself, a monumental task. But it is also a critical component of national reform," the senator said.

"The government needs to do something to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, which gets in the way of delivering basic services such as education, health and housing," Escudero pointed out.

News Latest News Feed