(STAR) By Iris C. Gonzales - With the government’s budget deficit projected to hit a whopping P300 billion this year, the new administration may have to push back the balanced budget goal to 2015, Finance Secretary Margarito Teves said.

He said while the current administration of President Arroyo is still determined to wipe out the budget deficit by 2013 as programmed, the next government may opt to adjust the schedule to a more realistic date of 2015.

“We will still be looking at 2013 (for balancing the budget) but the new administration may look at it differently. This is the way we’re looking at it in terms of exact year. Based on developments, we can still do it by 2013 but the new administration may feel it may be too strenuous for them,” Teves said.

The country is scheduled to hold elections in May next year and the elected President is expected to appoint new members of the economic team, including a new Finance secretary.

Teves stressed that nothing is final yet and the new schedule will have to come from the new administration.

Originally, the government had a target to wipe out the deficit by 2010 but in the middle of 2009, the government pushed back this target to 2013, saying that the global financial crisis called for the need to spend more to stimulate the economy.

As of end-November, the government’s budget deficit swelled to P272.5 billion, more than four times the P66.7- billion incurred in the same period last year, mainly because of weak revenues and higher spending.

In November alone, the deficit hit P6.4 billion, P2.1 billion higher than the P4.3- billion deficit incurred during the same month last year.

With this, the government is now looking at a 2009 deficit of between P298 billion to P300 billion from a previous ceiling of P250 billion.

For 2010, the government has not officially changed the P233-billion deficit ceiling but Teves said the emerging scenario is that next year’s budget gap would be higher than the P233 billion but lower than the P300 billion projected for this year.


How to be stressed in 2010 BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) By Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) Updated December 26, 2009 12:00 AM

If you find year 2009 stressful, and you would want to maintain stressed in the New Year, then make sure you understand the principles why you should stay stressed.

And here are the reasons why staying stressed is so important:

• STRESS HELPS YOU SEEM IMPORTANT: Anyone as stressed as you must be working very hard and, therefore, is probably doing something very crucial.

• IT HELPS YOU TO MAINTAIN PERSONAL DISTANCE AND AVOID INTIMACY: Anyone as busy as you are certainly can’t be expected to form emotional attachments to anyone. And let’s face it, you’re not much fun to be around anyway.

• IT HELPS YOU AVOID RESPONSIBILITIES: Obviously, you are too stressed to be given any more work. This gets you off the hook for all the mundane chores; let someone else take care of them.

• IT HELPS YOU AVOID SUCCESS: Why risk being successful when by simply being stressed you can avoid all of that? Stress can keep your performance level low enough that success won’t ever be a threat.

• IT GIVES YOU A CHEMICAL RUSH: Stress might be considered a cheap thrill, and you can give yourself a ‘hit’ any time you choose. But, be careful. You might get addicted to your own adrenaline.

• STRESS ALSO HELPS YOU KEEP YOUR AUTHORITARIAN MANAGEMENT STYLE: The authoritarian style of ‘just do what I say!’ is generally permissible under crisis conditions. If you maintain a permanently stressed crisis atmosphere, you can justify an authoritarian style all of the time.

And now that the New Year is here. Be sure you do the following in order to stay stressed:

• NEVER EXERCISE: Exercise wastes a lot of the time that could be spent worrying.

• EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT: Hey, if cigarette smoke can’t cleanse your system, a balanced diet isn’t likely to either.

• GAIN WEIGHT: Work hard at staying at least 25 pounds over your recommended weight.

• TAKE PLENTY OF STIMULANTS: The old standards of caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and cola will continue to do the job just fine.

• GET RID OF YOUR SOCIAL SUPPORT SYSTEM: Let the few friends who are willing to tolerate you know that you concern yourself with friendships only if you have time, and you never have time. If a few people persist in trying to be your friend, avoid them.

• PERSONALIZE ALL CRITICISM: Anyone who criticizes any aspect of your work, family, dog, house, or car is mounting a personal attack. Don’t take the time to listen, be offended, then return the attack!

• THROW OUT YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR: Staying stressed is no laughing matter, and it shouldn’t be treated as one.

• MALES AND FEMALES ALIKE BE MACHO: Never ask for any help, and if you want it done right, do it yourself!

• BECOME A WORKAHOLIC: Put work before everything else, and be sure to take work home evenings and weekends. Keep reminding yourself that vacations are for sissies.

• PROCRASTINATE: Putting things off to the last second always produces a marvelous amount of stress.

• WORRY ABOUT THINGS YOU CAN’T CONTROL: Worry about the stock market, earthquakes, the approaching Ice Age. The credit crunch. Water deprivation. You know all the big issues.

• BECOME NOT ONLY A PERFECTIONIST BUT SET IMPOSSIBLY HIGH STANDARDS: and either beat yourself up, or feel guilty, depressed, discouraged, and or inadequate when you don’t meet them.

When you do all these I promise you life will become unbearable, you will become unbearable and you will lie down on your bed and wonder why some people just have the good fortune of being successful and happy and you don’t…. duh?!!

There will be challenges awaiting us but learn to live one day at a time. Never for a moment forget that God is still in control and that you are not God.

(Francis Kong’s new book “Duh?!!” is now available in all leading bookstores nationwide.)

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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