Cayetano said it would be much easier if the officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would discuss with the alleged disgruntled legislators their pet projects for 2021 at this early stage, as what is being deliberated now is next year’s spending bill.
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‘Lawmakers can recoup lost allocations in 2021 budget’
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The 65 or so congressmen who lost their district allocations in the previous leadership of former speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo can still recover the funds in the next budget season of fiscal year 2021, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said yesterday. 

“This is a problem that we just have to be honest with the congressmen, that it might not be solvable in this budget (season),” Cayetano said, referring to the P95-billion funds that President Duterte vetoed this year.

Just like House committee on appropriations Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao City, Cayetano said they have to be frank with their colleagues since the budget prepared by the executive department can hardly be modified if the billions of pesos in funds are inserted. 

“It’s very difficult to promise them anything now,” Cayetano said.

“Ngayon na nakalatag na ang budget, saan mo ibabawas iyung P60 billion para ipasok dun? Sa ibang departamento? (Now that the budget has been laid out, where are you going to source the P60 billion for insertion?) Same department etcetera,” he added.

Cayetano said it would be much easier if the officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would discuss with the alleged disgruntled legislators their pet projects for 2021 at this early stage, as what is being deliberated now is next year’s spending bill. 

“Kung ang DPWH nag-uusap pa lang for 2021 anong budget sabihin mo, i-input mo iyung P60 billion, may possibility that a part of that or big part of that ay maipasok nila,” Cayetano stressed, tossing the problem to the 2021 budget to partly solve this year’s impasse.

“The issue of doing more in the districts is a perennial issue kahit madagdagan ng times 10 iyung budget that will be there. The issue of iyung na-veto, we’ve asked the congressmen affected: patient muna kayo kasi saan mo kukunin iyung P60 billion?” he asked.  

Cayetano designated northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza, vice chairman of the House appropriations committee, to “coordinate with congressmen who are affected.”

As for those lawmakers who have DPWH concerns, they can sit down with Rep. Romeo Momo Sr., former DPWH undersecretary.

“We’ve also asked DPWH to submit to us a report among the P60 billion and which are of national priority,” Cayetano said.

Acting on behalf of the disgruntled congressmen, House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte earlier withdrew the General Appropriations Bill as he reassured the public of a pork-less budget,but Cayetano interceded and decided that the budget deliberations must go on. 

Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, who presided over Wednesday’s budget deliberations, thanked his colleagues for working hard in passing the budget of various agencies, starting with the Department of Finance and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

P464-B losses

 The Philippine economy lost some P464 billion in revenues during the first half of 2019 due to the delayed enactment of the government’s budget for this year, a lawmaker said yesterday.

House deputy speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero, an economist, said both government and private sectors incurred losses amounting to $8.92 billion or P463.69 billion from January to June based on the average gross domestic product of 5.5 percent during the period.

Romero said this translates to losses of about P77 billion per month or P6.4 billion per day. – With Edu Punay

2021 NATIONAL BUDGET ALAN PETER CAYETANO
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