A party-list lawmaker representing the youth called on all government agencies on Monday to report on their use of the over P1-billion annual budget for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses,” in light of the furor over the lewd Liberal Party event last week.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon pointed out that the national government allots an average P1 billion budget for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” every year, a budget which covers expenses for “official entertainment,” public relations, and other expenses “not supported by the regular budget allocation.”
“Sa madaling salita, ito ang parte ng budget na itinuturing na ‘pocket money’ ng mga opisyales ng gobyerno: pang-party, pang-outing, at pondo para sa iba pang ‘extraordinary activities,’” Ridon explained. (In other words, this is the portion of the budget treated as ‘pocket money’ by government officials: the budget for parties, outings, and other ‘extraordinary activities,” Ridon explained.)
Data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) show that the government has allotted a total of P3.1 billion for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” for years 2014, 2015, and 2016 (see table below).
The two chambers of Congress receive the highest allocation for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” each year, amounting to P347 million in 2015. At second place is the Judiciary, with a P287 million allocation for the said item of expenditure this year.
The Office of the President, meanwhile, is given an average P16.4 million extraordinary and miscellaneous budget every year, while the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) gets an annual P7.6 million budget for the same purpose.
The use of the budget for “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” is governed by the general provisions of the annual General Appropriations Act.
Section 39 of House Bill No. 6132 or the 2016 General Appropriations Bill defines the use of the said allocation. Here is the full provision:
“Section 39. Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses. Appropriations authorized in this Act may be used for the annual extraordinary expenses of government officials with the following ranks and their equivalent, as may be determined by the DBM, not exceeding the amounts indicated:
(a) P264,000 for each Department Secretary;
(b) P108,000 for each Department Undersecretary;
(c) P60,000 for each Department Assistant Secretary;
(d) P45,600 for each head of bureau or organization of equivalent rank, and for each head of a Department Regional Office;
(e) P26,400 for each head of a Bureau Regional Office or organization of equivalent rank; and
(f) P19,200 for each Municipal Trial Court Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial Court Judge, and Shari’a Circuit Court Judge.
In addition, annual miscellaneous expenses not exceeding Seventy Two Thousand Pesos (P72,000) for each of the offices under the above named officials and their equivalent are authorized herein.
For the purpose of this section, extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses shall include, but not be limited to expenses incurred for:
(a) Meetings, seminars and conferences;
(b) Official entertainment;
(c) Public relations;
(d) Educational, athletic and cultural activities;
(e) Contributions to civic or charitable institutions;
(f) Membership in government associations;
(g) Membership in national professional organizations duly accredited by the Professional Regulation Commission;
(h) Membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines;
(i) Subscription to professional technical journals and informative magazines, library books and materials;
(j) Office equipment and supplies; and
(k) Other similar expenses not supported by the regular budget allocation.
In case of deficiency, the requirements for the foregoing purposes may be charged against available allotments of the agency concerned. No portion of the amounts authorized herein shall be used for the payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits, and confidential and intelligence expenses.”
“Going through the provisions governing the use of the budget for extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses show us that this portion of the national budget is prone to abuse, especially as it can be tapped for almost anything,” Ridon said, noting the “catch-all” provision which allows agencies to use the said budget for “other similar expenses not supported by the regular budget allocation.”
“To be fair, there are legitimate uses for the budget for extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses, such as the purchase of office equipment, journal subscriptions, and membership dues. However, our question for all government agencies using the said budget is this: how much has your agency been spending for ‘official entertainment,’ public relations, and contributions?” Ridon asked.
Ridon said he will move for the full accounting of “extraordinary and miscellaneous expenses” of the government in today’s plenary session for the national budget.
“The public deserves to know these details, as taxpayers should not be paying for lewd parties and other nefarious activities of unscrupulous government officials,” the youth solon ended.###
|Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expenses (in thousand pesos)
|Office of the President
|Office of the Vice President
|Department of Agrarian Reform
|Department of Agriculture
|Department of Budget and Management
|Department of Education
|State Universities and Colleges
|Department of Energy
|Department of Environment and Natural Resources
|Department of Finance
|Department of Foreign Affairs
|Department of Health
|Department of Interior and Local Government
|Department of Justice
|Department of Labor and Employment
|Department of National Defense
|Department of Public Works and Highways
|Department of Science and Technology
|Department of Social Welfare and Development
|Department of Tourism
|Department of Trade and Industry
|Department of Transportation and Communications
|National Economic and Development Authority
|Presidential Communications Operations Office
|Other Executive Offices
|Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
|Civil Service Commission
|Commission on Audit
|Commission on Elections
|Office of the Ombudsman
|Commission on Human Rights
Source: 2016 Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing