Sotto to gov’t agencies: “Why ask money from Congress for projects you cannot fulfill?”
September 08, 2021 12:03 PM
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III tells government agencies to be more prudent when requesting funds from Congress to ensure that other priority programs will remain financed.
"All these reports about government agencies underspending or not using their approved budgets is worrisome. We should have allotted more funds for the COVID-19 response and recovery."
Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III reminds government agencies to immediately identify their important projects to avoid underspending in the future.
"All these reports about government agencies underspending or not using their approved budgets is worrisome. We should have allotted more funds for the COVID-19 response and recovery,” Sotto said, amid some accounts that several departments have been underspending.
According to Sotto, who lamented that since the government has been paying for the interest of these agencies’ loans, it would be a waste if they do not utilize the funds properly.
“The government loaned money in order to provide the needed funding for these programs. We have wasted money in paying for the interest for these loans if the agencies are not spending the money intended for these projects and just returned it to the government coffer. Why do we have to make loans if we have more money?" Sotto continued.
The Senate chief also suggests that government agencies should practice frugality when asking Congress for funding.
"Why ask money from Congress for projects which you know you cannot fulfill? Why ask for money which you will not use anyway?” Sotto asked agency heads.
Sotto said the now idle funds could have been used instead to finance timely projects that address the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
He added, “You are wasting funds that could be used for more important programs, such as mass COVID-19 testing, the purchase of vaccines, and other health services. There is also a special risk allowance for our health care workers. We should have allotted more funds to this if the government has sufficient funds."
Budget officials are informed that unused funds will be returned to the government because they cannot be simply reappropriated to other projects without Congress’s approval.
"It's budget season again, we will start the discussion for the 2022 national budget. I am appealing to the government to know their priority projects, especially the budget for health, economy, education, and infrastructure sectors. If they will not utilize the funds, they should not ask Congress for it,” Sotto reminded government officials.
“The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over. We must prioritize the welfare of our countrymen. The Filipino people first," he concluded