GOVT LINES UP P23-B WORTH OF PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED WITH VAT
MANILA, MAY 2, 2006 (STAR) By Jess Diaz - The government has lined up nearly P23 billion worth of projects to be funded out of collections from the expanded value added tax (EVAT).
In a report to the House appropriations committee, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. said among the projects to be funded from EVAT money are the purchase of 630 police cars, which he jestingly called "VAT mobiles," and the hiring of 3,000 additional policemen.
He said the police cars and recruitment of more policemen would cost about P1 billion.
He said the P1 billion is part of the P22.7 billion worth of "public projects and programs" to be funded from EVAT collections.
However, the bulk of the projected EVAT take — about P52.5 billion or 70 percent of total revenues from the levy — will be used for loan payments, he added.
But in the event that oil prices continue to go up, Andaya said his office has drawn up a "wish list" of EVAT-funded projects that would cost P26.3 billion.
"The principle is to plow back windfall revenues from higher oil prices to high impact projects to deflect any criticism that government is the first to benefit from expensive fuel," he said.
A summary of "expenditure items chargeable against VAT" showed "economic services" getting the biggest slice of the "EVAT pie" with a proposed share of P10.4 billion.
Next is social services with an allocation of P9.2 billion. The rest will be shared by the Philippine National Police, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of National Defense, and a few other agencies.
Most of the projects are in the nature of "capital outlays" or infrastructure.
Andaya said the projects would sport a sign indicating their funding source.
He said the Metro Manila Development Authority has started placing "This is where your EVAT goes" signs in some of its road projects.
Under what Andaya calls "EVAT rebate to the people" plan, education will get P7 billion with "textbooks, high school vouchers, teacher recruitment, and school feeding" getting P1 billion. Some P2 billion would be allotted for new classrooms.
EVAT would also underwrite new education initiatives such as "library hubs," which would cost P120 million, and English, math and science teachers training (P500 million).
Andaya said P2.1 billion in EVAT money would be given to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. for the health insurance of indigent families.
He said the Department of Public Works and Highways will get P5.8 billion, Department of Transportation and Communications, P3.1 billion; and Department of Agriculture, P953 million.
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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