MANILA -- As plenary discussions on the 2011 national budget starts at the House of Representatives, a lawmaker called for the passage of a Fiscal Responsibility Law.

"Through it, we can create spending regimen that will allow us not to break our promise to the people without having to break the bank in return," said Representative Rolando Andaya, Jr. (first district, Camarines).

Andaya served as budget secretary during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

"So that the next time other departments come to us with their rehearsed sob stories on how their budget was cut, our knee-jerk reaction is not to bring out our collective hanky, and flog that agency as if people there can multiply revenues like what a preacher did with a single loaf of bread a long time ago," Andaya added.

He also pointed out the impact of the population growth on tax collection, citing that 40 Filipinos are born every 12 minutes and, at that rate, a million pesos every 720 seconds must be raised for their schooling.

Andaya also said it is quite unfair for the people to agree when certain sectors ask for five percent of the total gross domestic product but cry for people power when they are asked to bear the tax burden.

"We sometimes forget that budgeting is a downstream activity of revenue collection. People have this wrong impression that the House printing press that prints this budget also prints the money they requested from us, which would cost more than what our economy can produce in a year," he said.

Members of Congress will deliberate the P1.645-trillion budget proposal of the Aquino administration until October 14.(Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)