Binay to spend P260 million on Christmas giveaways in Makati?

James Ryan Jonas

Vote-buying or genuine public service in Makati?
Last October 16, 2014 the Makati City government conducted pre-bidding conferences for four (4) projects that will supply items to be given out as Christmas giveaways in the coming December. Nothing wrong with giving Christmas gifts per se, but is spending P260 million just a bit too much?

P260 million for “groceries, canned goods, T-shirts and bags”?

The official website of the Makati City government shows the official “Invitation to Bid” for four projects — with an aggregate Approved Budget for the Contract (ABC) of P260 million — to procure “groceries, canned goods, T-shirts, bags, and other Christmas giveways” that will be distributed to Makati residents and public school students by December 2014.
Here’s a screencap of the summary of bid invitations from the Makati City official website.
2014 Makati Christmas giveaways
The four (4) projects to be bid out, and their corresponding budget allocations, are as follows:

4 Christmas Giveaway projects in Makati City

Approved Budget for the Contract
"Groceries and Canned Goods for Christmas Giveaways - 2014"Php 118,352,168.00
"T-shirts and Bags for Christmas Giveaways - 2014"76,225,740.48
"Christmas Giveaways for Public High School Students of DepEd Makati"23,893,932.87
"Christmas Giveaways for Public Elementary and Pre-School Students of DepEd Makati"42,121,953.89
TOTALPhp 260,593,795.24

Sure, thousands of Makati residents will benefit from the giveaways, but is it prudent to spend P260 million on one-time dole outs?
This, considering that other government agencies scrimp on their approved annual budgets that pale in comparison to the total amount of the Makati Christmas giveaways this year.
Take a look at the meager annual budgets of some government agencies and compare this with the humongous amount for Christmas giveaways by Makati City mayor Junjun Binay.

Makati Christmas giveaways vs. budget of other government units

Government Agency / InstitutionApproved Budget for the Entire Year 2014
Mindanao Development AuthorityPhp 98,807,000.00
National Anti-Poverty CommissionPhp 148,948,000.00
Philippine Sports Commission (PSC)Php 182,313,000.00
Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)Php 334,555,000.00
Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP)Php 923,348,000.00
Total of Makati City's 4 Christmas GiveawaysPhp 260,593,795.24

For example, the P118-million contract to purchase “Groceries and Canned Goods for Christmas Giveaways” is bigger than the entire year’s budget of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
Scrimping on a budget less than P100 million in 2014, the MinDA is an agency mandated to “promote, coordinate and facilitate the active participation of all sectors to effect socioeconomic development of Mindanao.” Surely more people from Mindanao would benefit, in the long run, if the P118 million Christmas giveaway allotment was merely given as additional budget to the MinDA agency.
Also the P260 million total of the four Makati Christmas giveaway projects easily dwarfs the 2014 full-year budgets of two other government agencies: the National Anti-Poverty Commission (2014 budget of P149 million) and the Philippine Sports Commission (2014 budget of P182 million). Perhaps if the additional money were given to them instead, we’ll have more funds to reduce poverty in the country and to improve the sports environment and plight of our national athletes.
Without a doubt, thousands of Makati City residents will be happy and thankful for the city government’s giveaways this Christmas. But you be the judge: Is this a case of genuine public service or early electioneering in Makati City?
Vote and join the poll below!
[poll id=”24″]

James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.