2019 nat’l budget pork-free, House assures senators

September 20, 2018
Panfilo Lacson

THE House leadership assured the Senate, particularly Senator Panfilo Lacson, that the 2019 proposed national budget is now pork-free.

Panfilo Lacson
Panfilo Lacson

Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said the approved amendments in the budget will be itemized and every item will comply with the laws and Supreme Court decision.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives started deliberating on the General Appropriations Bill which proposes budget of P3.757 trillion for 2019.

This after a committee of the whole, chaired by Andaya, approved a committee report realigning the suspected “insertions” amounting to P51.7 billion to different agencies with specified projects and programs.

“The approved amendments in the budget will be itemized. There will be no post-enactment  identification  which is prohibited. However, there are augmentations that will be hard to  itemize, like the budget for retained health workers, as it will be impossible to create what is basically a payroll,” Andaya said.

“As I said every line in the GAB will comply with laws and judicial decisions on public expenditures.  Ang importante is that we are opening the budget deliberations to improvements,” the House leader added.

A total of P51.79 billion shall be allocated to the following programs such as  P10 billion to the Department of Education for the construction of technical-vocational laboratories; P5 billion to the Department of Agriculture for farm-to-market roads; P1.2 billion to State Universities and Colleges for capital outlays; and P5 billion for the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund for capital outlays.

In addition, P3 billion shall be for human resources and health deployment and P3 billion for health facilities enhancement program will be allocated to the Department of Health.

The DoT shall have an appropriation of P10.8 billion for the construction and improvement of access roads leading to tourism destinations; P10.792 billion shall be for the construction/improvement of access roads leading to trades, industries, economic zones, and livelihood centers; and P 10 billion for the construction of roads and bridges to decongest traffic.

The funding shall come from budgets initially allocated for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) multi-purpose facilities, flood control/drainage, national and local roads and bridges as well as water supply.

Andaya said the process of appropriations is the “systematic rebate of revenues to those whom taxes were systematically collected,” and the budget is therefore the catalog of how and in what form those revenues will benefit the taxpayers.