House Committee on Appropriations chairman Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab said that there had been attempts from congressmen to insert around P70-B to P90-B in the budget for the public works projects in their respective districts.
But Ungab assured that there will be no pork barrel in the national budget.
“I have to be prank and honest. Mahirap talaga kasi malaki yung amount. Mahirap ma-entertain yung kanilang request,” Ungab said.
The annual budget was expected to be approved before the first session break on October.
The Ungab committee approved on Monday, September 9, its report on the proposed PHP4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.
In an executive session, the panel approved without amendments the committee report on House Bill 4228, principally authored by Ungab, which seeks to appropriate funds for the operation of the government from January 1 to Dec. 31, 2020.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, senior vice chair of the appropriations panel, said the 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is a “faithful” copy of the National Expenditure Program.
Salceda also stressed that the budget bill reflects the national goals, particularly providing a safe and comfortable life for all, becoming an upper-middle income country by 2022, and A- credit rating also by 2022.
“We want to approve a budget that really serves our people, serves our constituencies, and of course, reflects the values of our country,” Salceda added.
Ungab noted that his committee has completed in “record time” the hearings on the 2020 budget proposals of all government departments, agencies and offices.
Previous schedules of the House showed that the annual budget hearings usually ended on the fourth week of September.
Ungab said the sponsorship and start of floor deliberations on HB 4228 are scheduled on Tuesday.
He added that the House is sticking to its original target date to pass the proposed national budget, which is before the October 4 recess.
The PHP4.1-trillion budget for 2020 is 12 percent more than this year’s PHP3.7-trillion expenditure program.
With the theme “Continuing the Journey to a More Peaceful and Progressive Philippines”, the 2020 budget will fund projects and programs that will continue the journey towards a more peaceful and progressive Philippines.
The Department of Budget and Management said the 2020 budget will continue to support inclusive growth strategies, aimed at accelerating investments in public infrastructure, improving anti-poverty programs, and intensifying employment generation.
The spending priorities are infrastructure development, food security, human capital development, and peace and national security. (with PNA report)