Happy New Year folks!

Sorry, if I am to welcome your New Year with this kind of post.  Expect I am going to post a more lighter one about the New Year in the coming days.

It is like a toy balloon swelling up as more air is being pumped into it with sooner or later, it will explode as it cannot hold more air.

This is sad news for Filipinos this yuletide season and the year 2010.  But knowing the Filipinos’ strength of spirit and love of ironies of life, this serious economic problem will not easily weaken us though may force us into quick anger.  This is a problem that taxpayers’ may once again be forced to shoulder in lieu of the welfare of the nation while thieves are still unrepentant for their excesses.

The Philippines’ 11-month budget deficit drastically ballooned up to P272.5 billion and is projected to hit P300 billion at the end of the year.  To simply put it, the government has spent P272.5 billion without even earning it yet.  This is a mother’s nightmare when doing the budgeting at home.  This serious financial problem is attributed by the Finance Department to the economic slowdown, thus lower revenue for the government courtesy of its collecting bodies, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs; and the impact of the recent typhoons that destroyed properties and crops amounting to more than P10 billion.

There are a few reasons why we have this mind-boggling P272.5 billion budget deficit.

  1. The rampant illegal smuggling of all kinds of goods into Philippine shore ranging from genetically-modified vegetables, car accessories and second-hand underwear is still thriving.  Smuggling either in collusion with the Customs officials or not, certainly kills the country and ill its surviving industries much more robbing the national coffer.
  2. The devastating typhoons and economic slowdown are given conditions.
  3. Corruption is still the king, one of the biggest problems in the government like a black hole sucking all resources, digging up mass graves for its citizens.  It has been known that government projects are usually overpriced with commissions and kickbacks up to almost 40% more than its actual cost.  Nowhere in the report though that the Department of Finance has attributed to corruption as one more serious reason why we have to incur such a big amount of budget deficit.  Billions of pesos are going to corruption; into a few pockets. And they do not have the balls to actually admit it.
  4. Election time is getting near and it may be thought of that those who are presently occupying government positions who are eyeing for a re-run or higher office have used or may still use government money into their campaign.  Millions if not billions of public funds wasted.

In effect, this budget deficit is no heaven for the public, more so tax-payers and businesses.

  1. In order to augment government spending, the government itself will have to barrow more money to international lending institutions, issue treasury bills or beg for foreign aid, swelling up our national debt which by the way has to be repaid even by future generations.
  2. Selling of government-owned corporations (GOCs), private properties ad shares of stocks are some of the easiest ways to pump in money into the government without earning the anger of the public.  Examples of this are the scheduled selling of the government stake at PNOC-EDC, the Jusmag Property in Taguig and the Tokyo Property.  These are midnight baratillo sale of the government desperate for additional funds.
  3. How about having negotiations with the Marcoses regarding the Marcos properties as a band-aid solution?
  4. And if nothing happens, taxing is key.  Hiking taxes on liquor and cigarette and other products are some solutions on this area.  Unfortunately, another form of value-added-tax which could already be called this time around as over-expanded-value-added-tax (OE-VAT) could easily be thought of lawmakers.

As to the issue of public funds (how to budget it, how to get it, and how to spend it), the public which by the way is the main source of this money being stolen by thieves in government uniforms, only has a tiny voice, if not no voice at all.

This is the legacy that President Arroyo is to leave to the public and expect it to even swell up as election is getting nearer and nearer.

Image from San Francisco Sentinel

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