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Salceda defends Bayanihan 3 in House budget panel

May 21st, 2021

Salceda defends Bayanihan 3 in House budget panel; House tax chief says package introduces “innovation” in helping the poor

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district) defended the constitutionality of House Bill No. 8628, or the Bayanihan to Arise as One as the House Committee on Appropriations deliberated on and approved the measure today.

In his remarks, Salceda said that “Bayanihan 3 already meets the constitutional requirement that the proposal be supported by funds to be raised by revenue proposed in the same bill. The question of presentation of certification of availability of funds is superfluous because the proposal meets the condition that a special appropriations bill be supported “by funds … to be raised by a corresponding revenue proposed therein.” In fact, Sections 34, 35, and 36 of the proposal identify sources for funding the measure.”

In comments after his defense in the panel, Salceda added that Bayanihan 3 introduces innovative methods of helping the poor and “building a stronger market-assisted social welfare state.”

“We are introducing, for the first time in Philippine policy if enacted, the concept of Universal Basic Income. P1,000 per Filipino, no ifs or buts. It avoids politicization. The rich can freely return it if they want; after all, there are very few rich people in this country. Almost everybody is hurting,” Salceda added.

Salceda also said that “as Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, was not presented by the Executive with arguments requiring the full availability of P46.4 billion to fund Republic Act No. 9358, or the supplemental budget of 2006. The supplemental budget included items such as relief for the Guimaras oil spill, aid for those affected by the Mayon eruption, and various other items not covered by the reenacted budget of the same year.”

“The underlying assumption was that because there was a reenacted budget for the same year, the supplemental budget would be funded with proceeds from regular borrowing operations of the government and would “”cover the funding deficiencies of the government in the event that the 2006 national budget is unacted upon by Congress.” Salceda said.

“My submission, based on my experience as former Appropriations Chair, is that Bayanihan 3 already complies with the constitutional condition for special appropriations bills, and can thus be approved by the House.”

Salceda also says that the Bayanihan 3 is more fiscally responsible than past supplemental funding measures.

“In fact, the proposal works harder to meet the fiscal costs of new spending one-to-one that the 2006 supplemental appropriations, as it at the very least attempts to be as close to deficit-neutral as possible,” Salceda said.

The House tax chair, however, emphasized the need to keep an eye on the country’s finances.
“I nonetheless reiterate the need for continued fiscal vigilance as the Philippines is already at the front end of the pack for deficit spending in Southeast Asia. Although we can accommodate some expansion in deficit spending coming from a low pre-pandemic debt stock (with an all-time low of 39.6% of GDP in 2019), deficit spending should not be a substitute for full recovery through an effective national vaccination strategy and a safe reopening of the economy.”

“Bayanihan 3 is a bridge to the vaccine and the reopening of the economy, but we need this bridge to get there.”

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