Chiz wants Government to shift from renting to owning spaces and buildings.
"By way of policy, the government should make a shift in three years and should not be renting office spaces anymore"
Senator Chiz Escudero said as he pointed out that in the 2014 budget proposal, the government will be allocating almost
5 billion pesos for rental and lease expenses of various government agencies.
Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on finance said that as reflected in the 2014 expenditure program, a proposed
amount of P4.745 billion has been earmarked for rent of office spaces and other equipment for different agencies.
The senator sees this as a waste of much needed resources vis-a-vis long term investments and other needed capitalization.
The senator said renting spaces at a cost is like throwing money down the drain. "Yes, we need spaces and buildings to
operate and function properly. Machines that are essential to an agency operation are a must. But renting is a short term
solution with no long term gains in terms of helping us to efficiently allocate scarce resources."
He said that at a whopping 4.7 billion pesos, a number of basic services can already be addressed like classroom shortages
and medical funding for indigents to all government hospitals in the country. "We are looking at mechanisms so that in
three years' time government agencies can already do away with renting office
buildings and other equipment.
The government should already endeavour to own infrastructures and equipment that is central to their respective operations.
It's absurd, the government owns lands and we have the resources, why not build our own buildings on our own properties?
Or acquire staple equipment?" In the 2014 budget proposal, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)-Office of the Secretary
has the biggest rental allocation at P742.9 million. The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) follows at P531.5 million,
the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Philippine National Police (PNP) at P279.4 million.
The Department of Trade and Industries (DTI)- Office of the Secretary, the Supreme Courts of the Philippines and the
Lower Courts follow, at P270.4 million and P212.8 million, respectively.
"We ourselves are also renting. The senate does not have its own property. We are procuring office spaces here at the GSIS
building unlike the House of Representatives who has its own building."
The senate is allocated a total of P171 million for rentals for 2014.
Escudero said the government should encourage a lease-to-own scheme which provides fund programming that does not require
a lump sum expense but will allow us to eventually own the facility. He cited the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
as one agency who has configured this system. Other agencies, he said, should also gear towards this venture.
"The approach in the budget proposal where almost all expenditures are itemized, a first in the country's budget history,
allows for leeway, flexibility and foresight in terms of planning for departmental spending which includes putting up one
agency's own building. There is already transparency which augurs well for the responsible use of government resources so
we can see where every cent of our taxes go," Escudero explained.