UNITED Nationalist Alliance (UNA) standard-bearer and Vice President Jejomar Binay claimed over the weekend that 26 million Filipinos are rendered poor by the government’s policy of underspending which, under his presidency, will never happen.
In an interview last Saturday during a campaign sortie in Mindoro province, Binay slammed President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his administration for “no spending, all underspending, under-performance” for the past five years.
“Pagka hindi mo niri-release ang pondo, ang iyong performance maapektuhan… May mga batang nagpapakamatay dahil walang pang-matrikula. May mga taong namamatay dahil sa hindi makabili ng gamot. Pero maraming pera. Trilyon-trilyon ang nasi-save, hindi naman ginagastos. Bakit [If you don’t release funds, your performance is affected. Some students commit suicide because they do not have money to pay for tuition.
People die because they cannot afford to pay for medicines. But the government has a lot of money. Trillions of pesos are saved, rather than spent. Why]?” the Vice President said.
He particularly scored the government for boasting to the world about the country’s economic wealth as indicated by higher credit ratings.
“Unang-una, gusto nilang magmayabang sa buong mundo, ‘Oy, mayaman kami! Kita po ninyo ang Moody (sic) ratings natin? Ang taas-taas!’ Hindi po nakukuha ang galing ng pamamahala sa pamamagitan ng perang hindi ginagastos. Ang dami-dami pong dapat pagkagastusan [First, they want to brag to the whole world, ‘Hey, we’re rich! Have you seen our Moody’s rating? It’s really high!’ Ability to govern is not measured by the money that was not spent. There’s so much to spend on],” Binay said.
Instead of spending its budget, the Aquino administration, according to the Vice President, kept on saving the people’s hard-earned money for five years, only to release it in large amounts just in time for the 2016 presidential elections.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier said it was releasing P760 billion supposedly for infrastructure spending in 2016, a far cry from 2010’s P165 billion.
Binay said the money saved in the previous years would only be released and used in time for the May 9 elections.
He insisted that the state’s budget should be spent for Filipinos, especially the poor who comprise a large percentage of the country’s population.
Under his presidency, he said, government funds would be used to expand the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) to include senior citizens and rid it of fake beneficiaries; abolish income taxes for six million middle to below-middle class workers; modernize agriculture and fisheries; provide free health services for the poor; and provide books, uniforms and school supplies to public school students.