The bible of Philippine politics

Kung saan-saan napupunta! Gatchalian, Ejercito slam ‘bad practice’ of not using funds to hire personnel


POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

by Xave Gregorio

Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joseph Victor Ejercito hit the “bad practice” of government agencies not using the miscellaneous personnel benefits fund (MPBF) for the hiring of employees, which leads to huge savings which end up being realigned to projects unrelated to the original purpose of the fund.

Gatchalian said it would have been better if projects funded by savings sourced from the MPBF, like the controversial anti-dengue Dengvaxia vaccine and the allegedly anomalous P8.1 billion barangay health stations (BHS) program, were discussed in Congress.

“It’s really bad practice. It’s becoming a habit to put a large amount of money, tapos alam naman hindi magagamit tapos gagamitin sa iba na hindi naman dumaan dito sa Kongreso at napagusapan,” Gatchalian said Wednesday (July 4) during a Senate probe on the BHS.

“It’s becoming dangerous kasi naga-allocate ang Kongreso sa General Appropriations Act, sa national budget, pero sa huli eh ginagamit ng DBM (Department of Budget and Management) sa iba hong purpose,” Ejercito said.

However, DBM assistant director Jane Abella defended the practice, citing the Supreme Court ruling on the Aquino-era Development Assistance Program.

But Gatchalian fired back, saying that even if it is legal, it is still not good practice.

“It might be legal but it’s not good practice,” he said. “Mas maganda ho na napaguusapan ho itong project dito sa Kongreso during budget season.”

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