Press Release
September 9, 2019

Hontiveros flags 2020 budget over lack of midterm review of PHL dev't

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros has expressed concern about the non-integration of any midterm assessment of the country's development growth in the 2020 national budget, saying that this may lead to inefficient government spending and delivery of services to vulnerable sectors.

"It is alarming that the 2020 national budget, which costs a whopping P4.1 trillion, seems to have been formulated without any midterm review of government's ability to meet its objectives under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan. Our country's economic and fiscal managers must explain why this is the case, " she said.

The 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan refers to the Duterte administration's medium-term socio-economic agenda which prescribes plans for improving the country's infrastructure, increasing energy access, lowering costs for citizens, addressing climate change, and sustaining economic growth. According to Hontiveros, the government must review its compliance with the plan so far now that the current administration is on its last three years.

"We need to know if the government is doing well in uplifting the lives of Filipinos- especially the poor and marginalized. Like in a student's report card, we need to know what areas we are doing well and what areas need further study and extra effort are things we need to know," Hontiveros said.

"If we fail to do so, this may lead to inefficient allocation of government resources, to the detriment of sectors who need them the most. Paano natin malalaman ang mga programang dapat pondohan at mga sektor na dapat tulungan kung kulang-kulang ang impormasyon na hawak ng pamahalaan?" she asked.

Hontiveros added that the midterm assessment is especially needed to help pinpoint and address the country's challenges to economic growth, such as underspending by government agencies on infrastructure programs and the various economic risks earlier highlighted by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The senator said she hopes that NEDA, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and other relevant agencies will ensure that the midterm review will be integrated and fully considered in the proposed government budget.

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