Lacson: Big gov’t departments not utilizing bulk of budget; nation’s debt to reach P8 trillion in 2020

By Allysa Nievera

Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Wednesday that the government gives a huge budget to the bigger departments, but the latter are unable to fully utilize the appropriations, resulting in large amounts of unspent funds annually.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson (Senate of the Philippines) Sen. Panfilo Lacson
(Senate of the Philippines)

He also warned about the nation’s ballooning debt, saying it could reach P8 trillion in the next few years.

“Ang masama sa atin (What’s bad is) we’re pouring in so much budget to big departments, DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), DoTr (Department of Transportation), and DepEd (Department of Education), Department of Health, hindi naman nila kayang i-absorb (but they can’t absorb it),” Lacson said in an interview with ANC.

“Okay lang if they are able to spend the budgets that are appropriated to them, pero ang problema hindi nga eh (but the problem is they can’t)… pagdating ng year-end makita natin yung (at the end of the year we see the) unused appropriations,”  he added.

Lacson said it happens every year.

“This happens year in and year out, hindi naman ito parang exceptionally mali yung isang year (it’s not like it happened just one year),” he said.

Lacson said this has been the case since the previous administration: “During the time of even former president Aquino, inaverage namin yung (we averaged the) unused appropriations, meaning un-utilized, tska yung (also the) unreleased; nag a-average sila ng nasa mga (they average around) P400 billion a year.”

Lacson said the current administration is utilizing the budget better.

“Under the present administration ang average nasa mga (the average is around) P250 billion… yes better, I can say that,” he said.

But the senator said the problem is that the country’s debt is increasing.

“Baon na tayo sa utang, nasa P7... trillion na yung utang natin (We are buried in almost P7 trillion of debt),” he said.

“We keep borrowing in large amounts na hindi naman talagang makaka-address o kailangan mag address dun sa (that cannot really address the) debit because P1.4 trillion projected borrowings in 2020 against only P677 billion, imagine, so papalo na tayo ng 8 trillion plus niyan (so it’ll amount to P8 trillion) before 2022.” he added.