August 21, 2019
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the proposed P4.1-trillion budget for 2020 to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, August 20.
DBM Acting Secretary Wendel Avisado said the 2020 National Expenditure Program allocated P166.5 billion for the Universal Health Care program, P108.8 billion for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program or 4Ps, P70.6 billion for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and P10 billion for the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund “to shield local farmers from the adverse effects of the influx of rice imports while supporting productivity enhancing measures.”
The newly created Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development was allotted P641.6 million.
The 2020 budget is 12 percent higher than this year’s P3.7-trillion appropriations.
Malacañang expressed hope that the proposed budget would be passed on time.
“Any delay again will affect our economy. And I am sure the members of Congress know that,” Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Congress failed to approve the 2019 appropriations before the Christmas break in 2018 because the Senate and the House of Representatives were locked in an impasse regarding supposed insertions in the national budget.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the chamber would start budget hearings on Thursday with a briefing from the Development Budget Coordination Committee — a body composed of the DBM, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
Davao Third District Rep. Chairman Isidro Ungab said he was “honored and excited” to head the House Committee on Appropriations “that is tasked to ensure the timely passage” of the proposed budget.
Ungab said the House aims to pass the budget measure on October 4.
Manila Sixth District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., House minority leader, said lawmakers from the minority bloc were “ready to work overtime if necessary.”
“We all recognize the importance of finishing the budget deliberations in a timely manner and acknowledge that cooperation is needed from both sides of the aisle to accomplish this,” Abante added.
“Let me stress, however, that aside from making sure that the budget is passed on time, it must also be on target — meaning that we have to make sure that the funds allocated for specific purposes, for particular programs, will be able to accomplish their objectives,” he said. “What we have is a record-setting amount of funds meant to improve the lives of over 100 million Filipinos. We will objectively evaluate, assess, and scrutinize the national budget to ensure that the P4.1 trillion are put to good use.”
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