In a short message yesterday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it had earmarked an unprecedented P400 billion for next year, supposedly for pump priming — as if it had to be reminded that national elections are being held for that year.
Pump priming presupposes that the huge infrastructure budget would be “front-loaded” as this is the bureaucratic term for spending majority of the huge amount in the first quarter of the year.
The short 90-day campaign period, thus, coincides with the pump priming effort of the government and money, government funds that is, would not be a problem anywhere in the country in the guise of funding for development projects.
Noynoy’s all-hype straight path or not, government projects are the source of rich commissions and kickbacks aside from the free campaign pitch from the projects which administration allies would exploit to the hilt as proof of their or the administration’s achievements.
The DBM said the amount would be spent for major upgrades of ports, airports, road and bridge networks to speed up growth.
The amount is about 20 percent more than the infra spending under the budget this year which is already a catch-up budget from the underspending that happened last year which resulted in economic growth being stunted to 3.4 percent for 2011.
Economic officials of Noynoy explained that the reining in of the budget for government projects was meant to review contracts that the government has but suspicions were raised that the pull back in spendings was intentional to time the spending for the projects when it matters most for Noynoy’s Liberal Party (LP), which is of course the campaign period.
The LP at the moment is having difficulties in forming a credible team for the national elections next year and, as a result, has even resorted to pirating strong political figures from other parties.
The message that the LP used to give those being invited to its fold is to embrace the straight path of Noynoy which has turned into a freeway for those who can deliver the votes for the elections next year.
The infra budget announced by Budget Chief Butch Abad is contained in the proposed P2-trillion budget of Noynoy, which is, in itself, an unprecedented amount, and goes with the equally extravagant P45 billion dole-outs through the conditional cash transfer (CCT) program of Dinky Soliman on the same election year.
Doing the math on the huge amounts is not needed to make the connection between the P400 billion infra spending and the P45 billion cash dole-outs and the LP party campaign for the 2013 elections.
The DBM added that the flood of money that Noynoy will unleash next year will have a huge impact on employment, on reducing cost of doing business and expanding opportunities for the private sector which is the euphemism for spending on sure votes for the administration candidates.
The practice is not too different from the many artificial jobs created near election periods by the previous administration in the form of street sweepers whose values were measured in the government provided T-shirts that they wear and proclaiming Gloria’s supposed achievements in the economy.
The unprecedented infrastructure buildup next year would necessarily carry the names of all the allies of Noynoy that can fit within the billboards that are fixtures whenever a major project starts.
The flagship projects of Noynoy announced during the start of his presidency through the so-called Private-Public Partnership or PPP scheme have not made any progress in the two years of Noynoy’s presidency and it seems that half of all these projects would be bid out next year.
It would not be far-fetched that the other half would be bunched up for the 2016 elections.