Updates on the national budget for 2020
LATEST UPDATE: November 27, 2019 - 4:26pm
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November 27, 2019

The Senate unanimously approves on third and final reading the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier certified the passage of the General Appropriations Bill to ensure timely implementation of the spending program.

Fifteen senators will be part of the bicameral conference committee: Sonny Angara, Panfilo Lacson, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Bong Go, Imee Marcos, Joel Villanueva, Ralph Recto, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros.

November 19, 2019

Lack of funding has led to a delay in the implementation of the National ID Law, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto points out.

"The administration pressed Congress to pass the National ID Law, designating it a national project of the highest priority, certifying that funds are available for its implementation, and no wonder Congress complied," he says.

"That was two years ago, when we passed the law certified as urgent by the Palace. During the debates then, we were told that the plan was to cover 100 million people in four years," he says, but says he has been told that not a single one has been issued since.

November 5, 2019

The Department of Education will need more money for its school-building program after earthquakes in Mindanao damaged 500 classrooms and 700 school buildings, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto says.

"Congress cannot be impervious to a tragedy which threatens the schooling of millions of children. It is duty-bound to increase the DepEd’s capital outlay funds, because the provision of a safe environment for learning should be given the highest reconstruction priority," he says.

Recto notes that the DepEd's proposed budget for building schools in 2020 is just P20 billion, which he says is "a steep drop from its P171.7 billion original request."

"By DepEd’s validated count, public schools lack 64,795 classrooms. The amount the DBM endorsed is only good for 8,000 new classrooms," he also says.

November 4, 2019

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto suggest that the Senate conduct a post-earthquake assessment to see whether the remaining calamity fund for the year and the amount approporiated for next year are enough.

"We should conduct an inventory of funds. There may still be money left in this year’s Calamity Fund for relief operations, to sustain the day-to-day needs of victims, but reconstruction would require bigger funding," he saus.

"Financing-wise, there is a big difference between buying grocery items and rebuilding damaged roads."

He says there is P25.1 billion in the 2019 national budget for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund. Proposed appropriations for next year's calamity fund are at P20 billion, of which P3.5 billion is for reconstruction work in Marawi.

"What is needed now is a fact-based, ground-validated damage assessment checked against available and proposed appropriations. If funding does not match the needs, then Congress has no choice but to augment," Recto says.

October 10, 2019

The Senate Committee on Finance should look for ways to fund the higher salary grade for government nurses that the Supreme Court affirmed in a recent ruling, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon says.

The Supreme Court has ruled that entry-level nurses should be at least Salary Grade 15 as mandated by the Philippine Nursing Act, and not Salary Grade 10 as declared in an executive order.  

"We should look for ways to provide the necessary funding to implement the Philippine Nursing Act which we passed when I was Senate President in 2002," Drilon says.

"If the government is willing to buy a P2-billion jet and if it can boldly ask Congress for a record-breaking P8.2-billion intelligence and confidential fund, I do not see any reason why we cannot fund the adjustment in the salary of our nurses," he also says.

October 4, 2019

A coalition of civil society organizations is asking the Department of Budget and Management and Department of Health for an explanation for the reported P10-billion cut to health in the proposed national budget for 2020.

The budget cut comes as the government prepares to implement the Universal Health Care Act.

"The implementation of the UHC law means increased health services which therefore implies the need to increase the health budget. As such, why are we cutting the budget of health? In fact, should we not increase it for 2020?" Dr. Maria Victoria Raquiza, Social Watch Philippines co-convenor, asks.

September 11, 2019

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto says the national budget needs to be "sensitive" to disasters, which he says are a "macro-economic assumption which should not be ignored."

In a press release, Recto, former chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, says calamities can also alter "the landscape of the national budget" by requiring more government spending.

"One powerful typhoon can blow away many elements of the budget," Recto points out.

He gave the examples of African swine fever, low palay prices, the dengue epidemic and a possible resurgence of polio as developments that were not foreseen in the national budget for 2019.

May 19, 2019

The 18th Congress must pass the national budget bill for 2020 without delay, Rep. Luis Campos Jr. (Makati City) says in a press release Sunday.

"When the government sneezes, the economy catches a cold," Campos says, adding: "When the biggest consumer – the national government – is unable to spend dynamically due to a deferred budget, the entire economy suffers."

He says Congress could pass the 2020 budget by late November or early December.

Passage of the 2019 budget was delayed for months as the House and the Senate wrangled over allocations in the spending bill. It was the first time that the national budget was delayed since the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The General Appropriations bill is among the most important pieces of legislation that Congress needs to pass since it authorizes government spending for the next year.

Delays in passage of the national budget lead to problems with funding and implementing projects.

Follow this thread for updates on the national budget for 2020.

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