NGO's Protest Exclusion from Next Year's Budget

Representatives of scores of the nation’s NGO’s yesterday flocked to the building that houses the national legislature to protest their exclusion from the budget proposal submitted to congress by the Mejia Administration. Jose Ramon Laranquent, President of the Non-Governmental Organizational Block (BONG), and Francisco Paulino, President of the Frontier Associations foundation (FUNDEFRONT), stated that the President and the Senate were "unjust" in leaving the 700 NGO’s outside the budget. "It’s an injustice, a barbarity, that hundreds of NGO’s throughout the country have been excluded. We are the organizations that compensate the marginal sectors for what the government cannot do." Said Laranquent. He urged employees of NGO’s to descend "like an avalanche" on Congress to call attention to their plight. Paulino criticized the swift approval of the budget proposal by the Senate, and appealed to the "sensibility" of the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Rafaela Alburquerque, to "recognize the rights of our institutions." The Lower House has yet to vote on next year’s budget. Mejia’s budget proposal was accompanied by an "addendum" providing for disbursements to some 1,200 new NGO’s dedicated to health and welfare projects. However, the President of FUNDEFRONT stated that the majority of the groups included in the addendum are not known by anyone. "The government not only mistreats us with delays in payment ­ because they owe us for five months ­ but now they want to liquidate us, bury us by this exclusion," he said.