Con-con Can Wait

24 September 2009

Use P2-billion budget for more classrooms and teachers

Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. urged the House Committee on appropriations to reject the billion-peso funding proposal for the planned holding of a constitutional convention (Con-con) in October next year.

Marcos said he sees no reason why the government should spend such a huge amount for an exercise that is not urgent as he proposed that the money be added instead to the budget of the Department of Education (DepEd) to help bridge the deficit in classrooms and public school teachers.

“Con-con can wait, but solutions to the problems of the education sector can’t. Giving more funds to build additional classrooms and hire more teachers would provide more permanent solutions to the problems of the education sector,” he said.

Earlier this week, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments approved the implementing guidelines for a consolidated measure calling for the election of 219 Con-con delegates simultaneously with the Oct. 25, 2010 barangay elections. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee for the approval of the proposed P2-billion budget for the exercise.

Marcos, however, underscored the need for the government to cut unnecessary expenditures and spend taxpayers’ money wisely in the face of a ballooning budget deficit.

He noted that the proposed P1.541-trillion national budget for 2010 has a programmed deficit of P233.4 billion, while this year’s deficit is officially projected to reach P260 billion.

“It’s tough times ahead for the country as the government expects a huge fiscal deficit next year. We have to make sure that whatever’s left of the revenues from taxes and other sources is well spent,” Marcos said,

“Instead of allocating funds for Con-con, the government might as well use it for education. Spending on education is always wise spending,” he added.

At present, Marcos said the country would need around 20,000 more classrooms and some 16, 000 new teachers in order to meet the needs of the education sector.