[Budget Game] Did Congressmen favor your budget priorities?

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on October 22, Wednesday, approved House Bill 2630 or the General Appropriations Bill for 2014. The approved GAB hardly changed from the P2.268 trillion budget that the Aquino government proposed in the National Expenditure Program for 2014.

The budget includes the following:

Share your views, craft your own budget

Do you agree with the spending priorities so far? If granted the power over the purse, which services will you fund more? Try your hand at budgeting and promote your favorite advocacy through this game.

1. You have a budget of P100 in P5- and P10-denomination coins. Of this amount, P30 is automatically appropriated to debt servicing and cannot be reallocated. Craft your own version of the national budget by clicking on the thumbnails representing each sector to allot these coins to services/sectors you want to fund. Click on the coins below each icon to reduce the amounts allotted per sector.  

2. Your response will be averaged with other user responses to come up with the public's version of the budget. 

3. Submit your response, see how it affects totals per sector, and see how different sectors respond to your decision. Be aware that budgeting is also a balancing act, a matter of prioritizing where scarce resources should go. Spending more on one sector could mean cutting funds for another.

4. Spread the word on what you think needs to be prioritized by submitting your vote through your favorite social networks.

5. Through the comments section, tell us what you think are specific programs that you feel deserve to be funded, and share your thoughts via your favorite social media networks.  

Keep watching the process

The budget process is far from over.

At this stage, the appropriations bill is referred to the Senate for further deliberations. At this level more amendments may be made. Senators may opt to reduce or increase appropriations for certain items. Learn about the possible scenarios through this infographic: Slides and ladders: Understanding the budget process.

After the senators approve the bill on third reading, the Senate and the House versions are reconciled at the bicameral conference committee level, traditionally referred to as the “third chamber,” where further changes may be made or inserted.

Thereafter, both houses of Congress have to ratify the bicameral version, which goes to the President’s office later for review and final approval.

The President has the option to veto line items in the budget. Beyond that, as the controversy over the Disbursement Acceleration Program has indicated, the President’s prerogative is so extensive that, while implementing the law, he can impound portions of the budget approved by Congress and re-shape spending the way he wants.

Clearly, each step of the process is open to abuse. Vigilance is a must. – Rappler.com


Track key issues related to the budget process by following #BudgetWatch.