Senate told to be transparent on itemized funds in nat’l budget | Inquirer News

Senate told to be transparent on itemized funds in nat’l budget

/ 02:34 PM March 12, 2019

Rep. Danilo Suarez. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Minority Leader Danilo Suarez on Tuesday appealed that the Senate be transparent in itemizing their lump sum appropriations under the proposed P3.8 trillion 2019 national budget.

“I think they should do the same. Itemize how you will spend [the funds],” the Quezon 3rd District congressman said at a media conference when asked if the Senate should also be transparent.


House appropriations committee chair and Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. earlier said they already itemized their lump sum funds agreed during the bicameral conference committee and approved the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) which was already sent to Senate.


Andaya, however, said a copy of the detailed report could only be publicized once President Rodrigo Duterte signed the proposed expenditure plan.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III has been accusing the House of realigning some P79 billion under the ratified 2019 national budget.

READ: Sotto bares P79 billion realigned in 2019 national budget

Suarez, an ally of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, defended this move saying there was “no amendment, modification, nor realignment” made to the proposed budget.

“The lower House merely specified projects and programs that shall be funded,” he said,

The lawmaker also assailed Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s claim that Arroyo unlawfully funnelled nearly P95 billion in infrastructure funds to the districts of her allies after Congress had ratified the final version of the budget this year, including P2.5 million each for an overpriced ambulance.


READ: Lacson: Arroyo allotted P95B in infra funds to her allies | Lacson: House amendments include overpriced ambulances

Suarez did not deny Lacson’s claim but defended the P2.5 million per ambulance.

“I don’t know where he got that. Baka 15 years ago ‘yan ang presyo ng ambulance,” he said, claiming that a complete ambulance unit may cause P5 to 6 million.

Congress ratified the 2019 spending bill last February 8 before it went on an election break. Andaya said the House appropriations committee received Senate’s itemized report of amendments only on February 11.

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The country has been operating under the 2018 reenacted budget since January. /je

TAGS: budget, Congress, House, itemize, latest news, lump sum, Senate

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