How to fund BBM bill? Salceda gives 5 ways

Published May 23, 2022, 1:47 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Much has been said about the proposed “Bayan Bangon Muli (BBM)” stimulus package the past few weeks, but how will the incoming 19th Congress fund such measure?

Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda (Facebook)

Luckily for the House of Representatives, Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda will be around for the next three years at least. And this early, the economist-solon already found five ways the BBM bill can be funded without going the budget realignment route.

“Realignment is not the only recourse for the President-elect. I can see at least five other possible courses of action for the package to be funded adequately,” Salceda said in a statement Monday, May 23.

For the first option, Salceda said solons can do a cash sweep similar to what was ordered by Executive Order (EO) No. 87 by President Duterte. The EO caused the reversion to the Treasury of accounts payable from three years before the issuance of the EO in 2019.

The second option sees the BBM measure in the form of a supplemental appropriations bill with “unprogrammed allocations” that can be funded in the manner similar to other unprogrammed allocations in the regular General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“So, augmentation, excess revenues, and other relevant provisions under unprogrammed allocations in the 2022 GAA can be lifted into this provision,” said number-cruncher Salceda.

Option number three according to Salceda is the adoption of the Bayanihan provision on the power to discontinue programs, projects, and activities, provided that certain parameters for discontinuance can be set. “I think we can place a moratorium on some wasteful spending practices, such as year-end on-site seminars.”

“The package can include a provision that utilizes any unused funds in Special Purpose Funds (SPF) for the programs under the package,” Salceda added, designating such as option number four.

For the fifth and final option, the Bicol solon said: “We can also include a provision that allows the President to use unused or unreleased subsidies to GOCCs (government-owned and controlled corporations) and government agencies that will no longer be able to finish the program subsidized this year.”

“In any case, let’s give the new administration a chance to fund and enact its own plans and programs for the country’s economic recovery,” said Salceda, who is the House Committee on Ways and Means chairman in the soon-to-conclude 18th Congress.