Lacson: Pandemic underscores need for inclusive national budget

Lacson: Pandemic underscores need for inclusive national budget

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The Covid pandemic and its continuing effects underscore the
need to have a national budget that is participatory, consultative,
development-oriented and inclusive, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said
Monday.

Lacson, addressing the “Budget Serye 2021” of Social Watch
Philippines, said the budget is the most important tool to address
social, economic and political problems, which are magnified by the
pandemic.

“The national budget is the government’s most important tool in
achieving its goals, especially in the midst of an unprecedented
health crisis when all our social, economic and political problems
have magnified into massive scale,” he said.

“More than ever, we must demand a national budget that is
participatory, consultative, development-oriented, and inclusive – one
that equalizes opportunities for all and serves the will of our
people,” he added.

Also, Lacson reiterated his shared commitment with SWP and its
Alternative Budget Initiative (ABI), to promote citizens’ active
participation in crafting the national budget.

Lacson has earned a reputation as the watchdog of the national budget,
flagging and pushing for the removal of dubious and useless
appropriations (a.k.a. pork barrel) from the yearly budget bill.

In August, he resigned as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on
Finance, and as Chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee C, so he can
focus on scrutinizing the P5.024-trillion budget for 2022, as well as
to address the advent of red flags raised by the Commission on Audit
in its audit reports of several agencies.

On the other hand, Lacson has pushed for budget reform by crafting
bills such as the Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment
(BRAVE), which ensures resources for local development projects by
downloading funds to the local government units. (ai/mtvn)

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