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House OKs proposed P4-T budget for 2020

  • The House of Representatives passed on third and final reading the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) which proposes a P4.1-trillion national budget for next year.
  • 257 congressmen voted in favor of the measure, the same day that it was approved on second reading via voice vote.
  • This is the first time under the Duterte administration that the national budget was approved in the House on second and third reading on the same day.

MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives on Friday passed the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 on second and third reading.

With 257 lawmakers voting in the affirmative and six in the negative, the House passed the proposed budget on third and final reading.

house of representatives
Photo from Philippine News Agency

In just nine working days, the lower chamber managed to hold plenary deliberations on the budgets of 72 government offices from September 10 to September 20 in a bid to accomplish its goal for passing the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or House Bill 4228 right before the congressional break.

“Our passing the budget in record time will give our standing and special committees more time to exercise their oversight functions especially over the 2019 budget and programs and platforms and the projects of our country”, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said.

house of representatives
Photo from GMA News

“It will also give us enough time to pass urgent measures including revenue measures that will fund the budget next year and for the generations to come. Also, it will give us time to review the programs of health, education, and other social services”, Cayetano said.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier sent Cayetano a letter certifying the budget bill as urgent “in order to expedite the funding of various programs, projects and activities for the fiscal year 2020” and to ensure “budgetary preparedness” of the government in performing its Constitutional mandate.

The top 10 departments with the biggest allocations as stated in the 2020 GAB were the Department of Education (P673 billion), the Department of Public Works and Highways (P534.3 billion), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (P238 billion), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P195 billion), the Department of National Defense (P189 billion), the Department of Health (P166.5 billion), the Department of Transportation (P147 billion), the Department of Agriculture (P93.1 billion), The Judiciary (P38.7 billion), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (P26.4 billion).

“Thank you team Congress, thank you for a people’s budget. Thank you because there’s no pork, no parking, and no delays in this budget”, Cayetano said.

alan cayetano
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. Photo from GMA News

Earlier this week, House Ways and Means chair Joey Salceda claimed that each congressman supposedly getting P100 million each under the proposed budget does not mean that each member of the House “would be able to identify and recommend projects worth that amount.”

“Projects identified by lawmakers are allocated funding under the budget based on the needs of their constituents. Hence if the project identified and recommended for funding is necessary, it may be included in the budget. Since the needs of the people in each congressional district as not the same, the allocations are also not the same,” Salceda bared.

The lawmaker claimed that the House will abide by Duterte’s call to ensure that “there will be no corruption tainting the 2020 budget.”

This is the first time under the Duterte administration that the money measure was approved on second and third reading on the same day.

Early this year, Duterte passed the 2019 budget but vetoed P95.3 billion worth of “unconstitutional insertions” after both chambers of Congress rallied for separate versions of realignments which had led to a reenacted budget for a few months. – The Manila Times

Pacific Standard

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