From the usual verbiage of the President’s budget message, “hope”, rather than fulfillment, is the one articulated and underscored.
The President said: “We hope for a better life, a better future, and a better world for ourselves and for our children. We hope, at the end of each grueling experience, for the worst to be over. We hope for an end for COVID-19, that we survive the pandemic and triumph over its impact. We hope to rise from every fall and failure, and to recover from every setback.”
While hope is ennobling, it must not be a cover-up for failure.
To buttress the realization of such hope, there is need to extract from the National Expenditure Program (NEP) the actual and specific amounts appropriated to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to ravage the people’s health and the country’s economy.
Mere generic references or general attributions to appropriations are not sufficient to determine the actuality and adequacy of the proffered allocations.
The exact outlay for the following pandemic responses must be fully ascertained and disclosed: (1) procurement and roll out of vaccines; (2) continuing and intensified contact tracing; (3) mass testing of the population and immediate treatment of COVID-19 patients; (4) social protection; and (5) economic support to distressed enterprises and industries.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN