By Reni M. Valenzuela
National budget reflects the complexion of a nation or government.
By all means, let us also clamor to strip the Local Government Units (LGU) of their secret funds as lately proposed by Senate President Miguel Zubiri. Wise and well-timed. But please don’t use such a “suggestion” as an excuse for the Senate or Congress to do wrong in scrutinizing and approving the 2024 budget under everyone’s nose, right at everyone’s fingertips – fraught with numerous, massive confidential and intelligence funds.
The existence of these secret funds is the reason why we have murderous people and robbers galore in “public service.” Acting on this one would most assuredly solve much of our persisting, pestering problems during and after elections – such as election violence, vote-buying, cheating, overspending, ballot-snatching, political dynasty, corruption, smuggling, gambling (legal and illegal), protection money, needless road repairs, drug trade, assorted cartels, fund shortages, economic downturn, etc.
Ridding our officials of these abominable allocations could mean ridding our government of the undesirables and freeing the nation from sanctioned oppressions and corruptions. Filipinos are at last awakening, vigilant over and leery of such dubious, anomalous “Acts.”
Take away what makes crooks and thugs run for elections and you take away their cravings in politics. Do it and you strip them of their reasons to do all that they can – hook, line and sinker, using gold, guns, goons and guile – just to get elected.
“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” – Proverbs 14:34.
Dear media, playing your role at this crucial moment of the nation’s history (for the good of all) is critical and most needed.
I have studied the proposed budget submitted to Congress by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for next year, 2024. Alas, I got saddened at the result of my study with the following confusing rumination and questions (among others) in my mind:
Why cut the budget for the Department of Health by P10 billion when it is the department that should be receiving enough funds on account of the fact that health concerns are what our people, especially the poor and marginalized, need the most, first, and last – for survival? They don’t travel abroad, wear expensive clothes and eat in cozy, expensive restaurants. What they need is just simple, lowly food to fill their empty, aching stomachs and heal their sick bodies. Have mercy.
What is the use of building infrastructures (instead of hospitals) and going abroad when Filipinos die of viruses, sicknesses, and the destitute continue to be rejected by private hospitals, helplessly?
Many of our people, especially in the neglected, far flung areas of the provinces don’t even have potable water to drink, and free schools to go to. What indeed is the government’s priority – “intel and confidential” department?