Sonny Angara’s panel seeks more budget for quake victims, education in 2020
MANILA, Philippines— Senator Sonny Angara has endorsed for plenary approval the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020, which he said contains higher funding for social services.
As chair of the Senate committee on finance, Angara sought the timely passage of the budget bill when he presented it on the floor on Monday for deliberations.
The senator said there is “a bipartisan consensus” to raise the funds for the repair of earthquake-damaged schools, school vouchers, free college, school feeding, help for indigent patients, and the deployment of nurses, doctors to poor areas, among others.
To prevent the dropping out of senior high school students studying in private schools using government vouchers, Angara said the Department of Education’s budget was raised by P6.2 billion next year.
For higher education, he said, the Senate “has filled the large holes” in the budget of the Commission on Higher Education by raising the funds for the Student Financial Assistance Program by P8.5 billion.
He said the same amount was also added for next year’s implementation of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, which he authored.
Through the intervention of Sen. Joel Villanueva, research grants were raised to P116 million, distributed across the state universities and colleges and the UP System, Angara said.
“Naglaan din tayo ng P167 million para magkaroon ng cash grants ang ating mga medical scholars sa mga SUCs (state universities and colleges),” he said.
(We also allotted P167 million for cash grants of our medical scholars in state universities and colleges.)
An additional P4 billion budget was meanwhile allotted for the Department of Information and Communications Technology ’s programs such as the building of digital classrooms, workforce, workplace and communities and the free Wi-Fi in public spaces.
Other “boosted health expenditures” include the P9.439 billion fund to aid poor patients in both private and public hospital, Angara said.
To prevent the mass layoff of nurses, doctors, midwives and other health professionals deployed to “underdeveloped and unserved” areas, the panel allotted P7 billion for their continued employment in 2020.
“We are also funding affordable but critical medical projects, like a 24-hour Mental Health Hotline to be manned by qualified health professionals,” said Angara.
He said the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) was allotted P108.7 billion next year in accordance with the law.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.