Budget okayed

February 08, 2019
Loren Legarda and Rolando Andaya Jr.
PRO POOR AND PRO DEVELOPMENT BUDGET. Senate Panel Chairperson Senator Loren Legarda and House Panel Chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. show the copy of the approved national budget for 2019 during the Bicameral Conference Committee Meeting at AFP Officers Club at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. With them are House Panel Member Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez (seated beside Rep. Andaya) and other members from the Senate and Congress. Photo by Ver Noveno

THE House of Representatives yesterday ratified the Bicameral committee report on the proposed 2019 national budget amounting to P3.757 trillion.

Approval of the 2019 budget averts the use of a reenacted outlay which creates funding problems.

Sen. Loren Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on finance and headed the Senate panel in the Bicameral committee, described the national budget as pro-poor and said it will bring sustainable development in the countryside.

Through viva voce, the budget report was ratified on the last day of the session before the start of the national political campaign.

Despite the question of irregular fund insertions of both the Senate and the House, the two chambers agreed to retain the provisions allocating funds for different infrastructure projects.

Reports said the Senate had amendments amounting to P190 billion while the House had P52 billion.

Both chambers agreed to retain the P800 million budget for teachers’ allowance and the P21 billion for the restoration of health facilities.

For 2019, the education sector will receive the biggest allocation in the budget, at P659.3 billion. These include the Department of Education, the state universities and colleges, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will receive the second biggest allocation, at P555.7 billion, followed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government, at P225.6 billion, the Department of National Defense, at P183.4 billion, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, at P173.3 billion.

Also in the top ten in terms of allocations are the Department of Health, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, the judiciary and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Included in the House’s 2019 budget bill is the realigned P52-billion budget from the DPWH distributed to some government agencies that provide basic social services.

Meanwhile, the Senators agreed with House appropriations chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. to remove the cash-based budgeting system in the 2019 budget.

The ratified budget measure will be sent immediately to the President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law.