Lacson-Sotto duo vows to enlist all sectors in nat’l budget process

The Senator Panfilo Lacson-Senate President Vicente Sotto III tandem vowed Saturday to reform the national budget process by involving all sectors and local government units (LGUs) in the allocations preparation.

In a press conference, Lacson, who is seeking the presidency, said the involvement of the sectors is part of their envisioned Budget Reform for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) program.

BRAVE, Lacson pointed out, aims to scrub off the “culture of mendicancy” during the budget season, when officials from LGUs have to appeal to the Senate for their allocation.

“Laging inuulit ni Senate President, kaya hindi mawala-wala ‘yung ‘culture of mendicancy,’ ‘yung dole-out mentality kasi pagdating ng budget season tila ba namamalimos lahat ng governors, mayors, councilors, lahat nakapila, kung hindi man sa House of Representatives, pati sa Senate,” Lacson said.

(Senate President Sotto keeps on emphasizing that the cause of the “culture of mendicancy” or the dole-out mentality could not be erased because during the budget season governors, mayors, and councilors seem to be falling in line begging in the House of Representatives, if not in the Senate for their allocations.)

Lacson argued that LGUs, civic society, and non-government organizations should be involved in the budget planning before projects could be submitted for the National Expenditure Program.

“Kasi ‘yan naman talaga ‘yung dapat mangyari na holistic ‘yung pagpaplano na involved lahat ng sectors sa isang LGU” (This should be the case, and the planning should be holistic where all sectors of the LGUs are involved), Lacson said.

According to him, there will be four stages of the BRAVE program — budget planning, budget authorization, budget implementation, and accountability.

“Ang tanong dapat sa Barangay Development Council paakyat, ‘Ano ang kailangan niyo?’ Sasabihin nila sa national government ang mga kailangan nila. Hindi ‘yung nangyayari ng napakatagal nang panahon ang national government sinasabi sa mga local at sa ibaba ‘Ito ang kailangan niyo, ito ang puwede niyong gastusin,'” said Sotto, Lacson’s running mate.

[The question that should be asked from the Barangay Development Council all the way up is ‘What do you need?’ Then they will inform the national government of their needs, not the other way around.]

Public servant mindset

In an article posted on his personal website Lacson took a dig at the “pulitiko” or politician mindset in governance.

He said that the “public servant mindset” should prevail in government.

“A politician thinks of himself and the next elections. ‘Yan ang pulitiko, inisip ang sarili niya at ang susunod na eleksyon,” he said.

“Ang public servant thinks of the nation and the next generation – yan ang dapat pananaw nating lahat sa public service (A politician thinks of himself and the next elections. A public servant thinks of the nation and the next generation,” he pointed out.

Lacson will run under the Demokratikong Reporma Party (Reporma), which installed him as their chairman in July.

Meanwhile, Sotto will run under the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) where he sits as chairman. –LBG, GMA News

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