ANDAYA TO SUBMIT  2010  BUDGET  TO  CONGRESS  TODAY

MANILA,
AUGUST 22, 2009 (STAR) Jess Diaz (- Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. is set to present to Congress today President Arroyo’s proposed P1.5-trillion national budget for 2010.

Andaya will submit copies of the budget program to Speaker Prospero Nograles, Majority Leader Arthur Defensor and other leaders of the House of Representatives, where the annual spending bill originates.

He is also expected to send copies of the budget proposal to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.

The proposed budget represents an increase of more than P100 billion over this year’s P1.4-trillion.

The adjustment is not significant, according to former economic planning secretary Ralph Recto.

“I have seen the numbers before I left the Cabinet, and I can tell you that the proposed 2010 budget is almost a no-growth budget,” Recto told The STAR earlier.

He said the increase of more than P100 billion would be eaten up by P85 billion in additional interest payments on loans and P70 billion-P75 billion for the second installment of the four-year salary increase of government personnel.

He said the President’s successor would be facing a serious fiscal problem since he or she would inherit a government that is deep in debt and in deficit to the tune of more than P200 billion.

This year’s financing deficit is officially projected to reach P260 billion. However, some investment banks see it reaching as high as P300 billion. The budget gap for the first six months was reported at P188 billion.

Next year’s deficit is estimated at P230 billion. The Arroyo administration has incurred unprecedented deficit levels.

Financing gaps are plugged with domestic and foreign borrowings. The country’s debt ballooned from P2 trillion during the short-lived administration of ousted President Joseph Estrada to P4.3 trillion under Mrs. Arroyo.

Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo said Mrs. Arroyo is doing the right thing with her administration’s resorting to deficit spending.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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