Aquino Government Looking at 2011 Budget Approval by December 30

November 23, 2010 press release by the Department of Budget and Management
Abad to Senators: “Give Aquino poverty alleviation strategy a chance”
Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad today said the Aquino government remains optimistic that the 2011 Reform Budget will be approved on time, and even signed into law by December 30 of this year: possibly the first time in 11 years that the budget is signed into law within the year that it is submitted to Congress.
“We recognize that the Legislature has been doing its part by working within its schedule so far. On the Executive’s part, we are withdrawing all requests for amendments made by its agencies that were not indorsed by the DBM. With these, there is an excellent chance that the proposed General Appropriations Bill can be enacted into law before the year ends,” he said.

“This would be a good indication of the goodwill and cooperation between the Executive and the Legislature, showing the people their collective determination to ensure the timely delivery of critical public services, infrastructure and development programs,” he stressed.
Abad appealed to senators to give the Executive an opportunity to implement its poverty alleviation strategy, as funded in the spending bill, to be debated upon in plenary by the Senate starting Tuesday. “We ask our senators to give the Aquino government a chance to implement its programs to address poverty and strategically position our country for economic expansion.”
Ang istratehiya po natin ay bigyan ng salbabida ang mga kababayan nating nalulunod sa kahirapan, at pagkatapos noon ay saka natin sila tutulungang lumangoy (Our strategy is to give a lifebuoy to those drowning in poverty, and teach them to swim afterwards),” he said.
He assured senators that the government is prepared enough to make the P21-billion Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program work, and that sufficient safeguards are put in place. The program, he said, will be implemented in phases to reach 2.3 million indigent households by year-end; and that the beneficiaries have been identified through a scientific National Household Targeting System (NHTS) that identifies all 4.6 million indigent households.
Most importantly, he said investments in basic education and health services have been made as part of the social protection package. He notes that the Department of Education receives an increase of P32.3 billion to address critical gaps; while funding for rural health facilities and for immunization have been more-than-doubled, to P7.14 billion and P2.46 billion, respectively.
Abad further said that the implementation of CCT will be done in coordination with civil society organizations and local government units which will be critical in monitoring the progress of families. He also notes that the House has included special provisions to strengthen oversight during the implementation phase of the project, as well as realignment of funds to other critical priorities—such as health, education and livelihood—in case funds are not fully utilized.