PROGRESSIVE youth group Anakbayan slammed the Aquino administration’s P3.002 trillion proposed 2016 national budget as a pro-rich and anti-poor budget that is riddled with hidden pork, prioritizes foreign debt, and subsidizes big business at the expense of social services like education.
Anakbayan decried the top priority given by the Aquino government on foreign debt servicing which is P740.5 billion in the 2016 proposed budget, with P392.79 billion for interest payments and P347.7 billion for the principal amortizations.
“Aquino really is a dutiful puppet, diligently paying for onerous foreign debts while loaning more from foreign banks to implement foreign-oriented programs. In fact, Aquino will loan P674.8 billion next year just to fill the deficit in the proposed budget,” said Anakbayan national chair Vencer Crisostomo.
The youth organization also condemned the large number of privatization projects under Aquino’s flagship Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) which the group says only benefits the principal cronies and big businesses closest to Aquino.
Under the proposed 2016 budget, 10 PPP projects amounting to P189 billion will be awarded to Ayala, Sy, Cojuangco and 13 other big tycoons. Contrary to its promise that government will not spend for these projects, the allocations for PPPs will not go below P65.9 billion.
“Ito ay isang KKK budget para sa mga kaibigan, kaklase, at kabarilan ni Aquino. Mas masahol pa, ito ay lantarang pandarambong sa kaban ng bayan at panuhol para sa halalan,” said Crisostomo who pointed out the presence of hidden pork barrel funds in the 2016 national budget.
The youth group cited the report of progressive bloc Makabayan which exposes that a minimum
of P648.2 billion or at least 22 percent of the budget are in fact lump sums or pork barrel under the direct control of Malacañang.
The largest chunks of lump sums are in the form of “special purpose funds” (SPFs) which amount to P430.4 billion. The SPFs increased by as high as 75.2 percent in 2016 from only P245.7 billion in the year 2015. The remaining P217.8 billion are in other lump sums hidden in 38 government agencies.
“Kahit idineklara nang labag sa batas, patuloy pa rin ang pork na gaya ng idineklarang iligal na Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). This time around they do it through “insertions” for Aquino allies in the budget of different agencies,” said Crisostomo.
Other lump sums cited by the youth leader include the P25.7 billion “bottom’s up budget” for non-government organizations (NGOs) and the P18.4 billion Local Government Support Fund (LSGF).
He also added that provisions that are essentially no different from the unconstitutional DAP continues to exist in the 2016 budget, thus permitting the Aquino government to transform funds into “savings” that it can use under its discretion.
According to Anakbayan, the P547.3 billion budget for the Department of Education which the Aquino government boasts as proof of its prioritization of education is actually way smaller than the proposed allocation for foreign debt servicing and pork barrel.
“The 2016 education budget is only 3.6 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, far from the 6 percent standard of the United Nations.Kulang na kulang talaga ito para tugunan ang mga kakulangan sa edukasyon,” said Crisostomo.
The University of the Philippines will have a P2.2 billion budget cut which is the biggest in the last 5 years, while the funds for state universities and colleges (SUCs) remain insignificant and pushed towards intensified commercialization.
Crisostomo also condemned the low budget for health services and the P62.7 billion dole out budget for the controversial Conditional Cash Transfers (CCT) which has not made a dent on poverty since its first implementation in 2008.
Anakbayan vowed to step up protest actions against what it called the anti-youth, anti-people 2016 proposed national budget. Various youth and student groups are gearing for a “Youth Action Day” on August 23, the second year anniversary of the anti-pork “Million People March.”
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