Marcos admin may not have funds it will need for stimulus package – Lagman

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 22) — The administration of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may not have funds it will need for its proposed stimulus package as the outgoing Duterte administration has already disbursed 90 percent of the 2022 national budget, a lawmaker said.

“Unless the new administration can find or create fresh funds, the stimulus package monikered as Bayan Bangon Muli will be mere sloganeering and simply a change in nomenclature from the original Bayanihan,” Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said in a statement.

“Unlike in Bayanihan 1 and 2, there is nothing more to be realigned in the 2022 national budget because 90% has already been released to departments and agencies,” he added.

Lagman also said that while there are special purpose funds, these are “untouchable as they are mandatories like salaries, pensions, and for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Fund or the calamity fund.”

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda, chairperson of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives, earlier said he would look for measures to fund the proposed stimulus package.

House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez, who is being eyed to be the next House Speaker, earlier said that over P8 billion could be saved if the barangay elections will be postponed anew. He noted that the savings could be used for pandemic response and economic stimulus.

Lagman opposed calls to postpone the local elections.

“Democracy at the grassroots should not be sacrificed by the expedience of postponing again the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, which have already been previously reset,” he said.

“A new mandate is necessary for the overstaying barangay officials and the overaged youth leaders,” he added.