Majority leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez said the House leadership, through a committee created by the plenary to facilitate amendments in the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), has adjusted appropriations of several departments to address insufficiency in funding for urgent and priority programs.
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House realigns P9.5 billion in 2020 proposed budget
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - September 26, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has approved the realignment of some P9.5 billion in funds in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for next year.

Majority leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez said the House leadership, through a committee created by the plenary to facilitate amendments in the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), has adjusted appropriations of several departments to address insufficiency in funding for urgent and priority programs.

He revealed that the amount was taken from the P5.7-billion budget of the Commission on Elections for next year’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls set to be postponed, and the P3.7-billion funding of the Department of Public Works and Highways for deferred road right-of-way projects.

Romualdez said P3 billion of the realigned funds will go to the National Food Authority, to augment the P7-billion allocation for purchase of palay from farmers severely affected by the implementation of the Rice Tariffication Law this year.

The House leader said the remaining P6.5 billion would go to Department of Education, Department of  the Interior and Local Government, Department of Transportation, Philippine National Police, National Center for Mental Health, Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine General Hospital, government corporations, local government units, construction of day-care centers nationwide and implementation of the natural resources conservation development and protected areas development management programs.

Romualdez said their committee is expected to complete the amendments this week so the House would be able to print the GAB and transmit it to the Senate by next Tuesday, Oct. 1.

The House plenary approved last Sept. 20 on third and final reading the GAB, which mirrored the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier explained that the GAB approved on second reading was a replica of the NEP, but the third and final version already included a colatilla for amendments.   

“This budget is pork-free, parking-free and delay-free,” he said.

With the record-time passage by the House – just one month since submission of the NEP – the GAB would be given ample time for deliberations in the Senate and bicameral conference.

Cayetano said this would also allow President Duterte to sign the budget before yearend to prevent a repeat of the delayed enactment of budget last year that had repercussions on the country’s economy.

The House also approved yesterday, on second reading, a resolution extending the validity of certain appropriations in this year’s national budget up to Dec. 31 next year.

Funds for salaries will not be covered, since all these will presumably be spent. – With Jess Diaz, Cecille Suerte Felipe

2020 GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES NATIONAL BUDGET
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