Press Release
July 26, 2015

Amounts in proposed budget speak louder than SONA words - Recto

Two important documents submitted after the State of the Nation Address (SONA) are as important as the SONA itself, "and in fact are better tools in assessing the state of the nation," Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph G. Recto said.

These are the Technical Report to the SONA and the proposed national budget for next year.

"SONA is poetry. But if you want to read the prose of where we are, it is in these two documents. I call them 'day after' documents but they are very important," Recto said.

Recto explained that the SONA is a "looking back - looking forward" speech, while the source material of the "looking back" part is the Technical Report to the SONA, and "the main basis of the looking forward is the national budget for next year."

He described the Technical Report to the SONA as a "thin, slim book, about half-an-inch thick, full of numbers, which is a report card of what has been done since the last SONA."

"It says what the government has done during the time the earth has completed one revolution around the sun," Recto said.

The budget documents for the next fiscal year, on the other hand, consist of five volumes and are almost one foot thick, he said.

"A budget is a book of intentions. You may promise many things but the proof that you will do it is in the budget, which is the annual expression of government programs. Ang isang programa ay nananatiling drawing lamang hanggang walang peso sign na nakakabit," he explained.

"In governance, funds proposed in the budget speak louder than words in a SONA," Recto said.

Next year's expenditure program is pegged at P3 trillion, up 15 percent from this year's P2.6 trillion. Like in the previous four years, it is expected to be formally presented to congressional leaders a day after the SONA.

According to Recto, the SONA should be adjudged together with what the two documents contain.

He urged the government's information machinery to popularize not only the SONA text but the technical report and the budget as well.

"Kahit boring ang mga yan at puno ng numero, yan naman ang mga numerong mahalaga sa atin. Numbers count as much as rhetoric. And they must match the rhetoric," he stressed.

"But this early, I predict that the numbers in the two reports are more impressive than the SONA. I think the Technical Report will explain in detail the many great things the President has done," said Recto.

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