House panel to weigh 'Gross National Happiness' in budget

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 01 2017 08:13 PM

MANILA - House Appropriations Committee chair Karlo Nograles on Tuesday said that his panel would consider the country's "gross national happiness" (GNH) in the country's 2018 national budget.

Nograles said that a country's GNH should determine the priority programs of the government, and that the House appropriations committee would consider GNH as they scrutinize Malacañang's proposed P3.767-trillion national budget. 

"We should fund programs to make our people happy. Our national programs should be designed to ensure that our people are generally happy with their way of life," Nograles said.

Gross National Happiness is a concept that was first introduced by the Buddhist country of Bhutan, which said that it is a better measure of a country's progress than Gross National Product. 

“We must make sure that every centavo of taxes collected from the people will benefit the people, especially the poor and long neglected areas of the country,” Nograles said.

However, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate cast doubt on the viability of GNH in the Philippines, saying the government's proposed tax reform measure will not make poor people happy. 

"Hindi magiging happy ang mahihirap sa tax reform package dahil ang sigurado lang dito ay magmamahalan ang lahat ng mga batayang bilihin dahil sa dagdag na buwis," said Zarate. 

The House approved the first package of the Duterte administration's comprehensive tax reform package but the measure remains pending at the Senate.