Progressive Lawmakers Deem 2011 Budget as Rushed, Misaligned and Regressive

The budget for health was reduced from P398.9 billion in 2010 to P361.1 billion ($8,231,137,451) in 2011. This includes slashing the budget allocations for 55 public hospitals nationwide from P363.7 million ($8,290,403) to P4.8 billion in 2011. The budget of specialty hospitals was also reduced by P970.6 million ($22,124,458).

The budget of twelve major public hospitals, such as Jose Reyes Memorial, Rizal Medical, East Avenue Medical, Quirino Memorial, Tondo Medical, Jose Fabella Memorial, among others, was reduced by P4 million ($91,178) and subsidies for indigents under the National Health Insurance Program would be effectively reduced by P1.67 billion ($380,670,161).

The budget of military hospitals like the AFP Medical Center and Veterans Memorial Medical Center were, however, increased by P923 million ($21,039,434) and P130.7 million ($2,979,256), respectively.

“(The Lower House) deducted budget from legal assistance of OFWs, on health and on education but allows Mrs. Arroyo to walk away with the P2.2 billion (allocation) ($50,148,165) for a single district and the lump sums too,” Colmenares said.

Because of this, Tinio said, they deem the 2011 budget as “pro-privatization.” He also highlighted the fact that next year’s budget gives high priority to debt-servicing. Tinio said the reason for the continuing deterioration of the government’s basic social services is that debt servicing eats up a large chunk of the country’s budget.

“I was amazed with the debt servicing (item) on the GAA (General Appropriations Act) that was passed (on Nov. 8),” Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus said, “During Mrs. Arroyo’s time, we have allotted 340 billion ($7,750,170,959). Under Noynoy, however, we had P30 billion ($683,838,614) more or P370 billion ($8,434,009,573) (in total).”

Military spending also took a large portion of the 2011 budget. The budget for the Department of National Defense has increased from P96.2 billion ($2,192,842,489) to P104.7 billion ($2,386,596,763).The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will also get an additional P10 billion ($227,946,204) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) P6.6 billion ($150,444,495) more.

Gabriela Rep. Emi de Jesus, a neophyte lawmaker, said she is shocked by the long line of Filipinos asking for financial help, especially for health services. If only for that, de Jesus said, she and other progressive party-list representatives should continue to call for the realignment of the budget to favor basic social services.

“What happened yesterday (Nov.8) underscores the need to reform the budget process,” Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said, “The budget process was not democratic.”

Palatino added that the 2011 budget is a “3D” budget, meaning “dole-outs” for the CCT, “debt servicing” and “death squad” for high military spending. (Bulatlat.com)

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  1. The slash on the budget of SUCs only manifests that the Aquino administration has no dedication to elevate the quality of education here in the Philippines. The budget cut will only fallback to higher tuition and school fees and who's going to take the burden? Hindi lang ang kabataang estudyante ang higit na apektado kung hindi pati ang mga magulang na nakapaloob din sa iba't-ibang sektor ng lipunan. Nararapat lamang na kumilos ang hanay ng kabataang estudyante sa gabay ng hanay ng mga guro at iba pang sektor upang kalampagin ang Aquino administration na ibigay ang nararapat na budget para sa edukasyon. NO TO BUDGET CUT!

  2. Mass education and mass protests from women, children, youth,students especially in the state educationals institutions, should be launched immediately, and continued weekly….Congresspeople cannot be expected to change until every district is organized, educated, and mobilized. Otherwise, this situation will continue year in and out, as it has in the last fifty years since the country was granted nominal independence by the colonizer. The Batasan represents the oligarchic bloc of landlords, bureaucrats, big capitalists, and compradors, so can we expect pro-people legislation? More weapons for the AFP and PNP for killing and torturing citizens, is what NoyNoy wants. Isulong ang pakikibaka!

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