Or why should we care if the term “savings” is redefined

IF THE word “savings” will be redefined once the General Appropriations Bill for 2015 passes, of what significance would it be for Juan and Juana Dela Cruz?

Should we – you and me – care?

The group Pera Ibalik sa Tao or PISO believes we should. The simple reason: if approved, only one person will have absolute power to decide how our money will be spent This is against the Philippine Constitution, the bedrock of our laws, that solons have the decision-making powers and not the ones living across the Pasig River.

Section 67 of the general provisions of the 2015 GAB redefines the definition of savings and augmentation in section 68 of 2014 GAA. Section 68 of 2014 GAA defines savings as portions of balances of any programmed appropriation in the 2014 GAA that are free from any obligation or encumbrance and which are:

Still available from the completion or final discontinuance or abandonment of the work, activity or purpose for which the appropriation is authorized;
From appropriations balances arising from unpaid compensation and related costs pertaining to vacant positions and leaves of absence without pay; and
From appropriations balances realized from the implementation of measures resulting in improved systems and efficiencies and thus enabled agencies to meet and deliver the required or planned targets, programs and services approved in this Act at a lesser cost.

KNOW MORE IN THIS VIDEO CLIP of former national treasurer Leonor Briones. Video by PCIJ deputy producer Cong B. Corrales

In Section 67 of the general provisions of the 2015 GAB, the phrase “free from any obligation or encumbrance” was changed to “which have not been released or obligated.” Also, the following clause were changed or added in the new provision:

Discontinuance or abandonment of the program, activity or project (P/A/P) for justifiable causes, at any time during the validity of the appropriations;
Non-commencement of the P/A/P for which the appropriations is authorized within the first semester of FY 2015, unless the implementing agency shows that the P/A/P may still be undertaken or accomplished in FY 2015. For this purpose, non-commencement shall refer to the inability of the agency or its duly authorized procurement agent to obligate an allotment within the first semester of FY 2015;
Decreased cost resulting from improved efficiency during the implementation or after the completion by agencies of their P/A/Ps to deliver the targets and services approved in the Act.

The definition of augmentation was also changed. Also contained in section 68 of 2014 GAA, augmentation is defined as the existence in the 2014 GAA of a program, activity, or project “with an appropriation, which upon implementation, or subsequent evaluation of needed resources, is determined to be deficient. In no case shall a non-existent program, activity, or project, be funded by augmentation from savings or by the use of appropriations otherwise authorized in this Act.”

However, in Section 67 of 2015 GAB, a particular clause was added which will make it easier to augment funds as long as it is included in the 2015 GAA. The clause “(t)he existence of a P/A/P regardless of the availability of allotment class/es is sufficient for the purpose of augmentation. The allotment classes referred to herein may either be Personnel Services, MOOE, or Capital Outlays” was added.

1 Response to Debating over a meaning

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Requiem for a dream « The PCIJ Blog

October 22nd, 2014 at 6:27 pm

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