House majority bloc holds meet in ‘Balay’
MANILA, Philippines–The majority bloc in the House of Representatives held a meeting on Tuesday at the “Balay” headquarters of the Liberal Party (LP) in Quezon City to plot President Aquino’s move to redefine the use of savings for economic stimulus after the Supreme Court declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
Savings on quarterly basis
Three lawmakers who attended the hearing said the meeting was meant to ensure that House members would be on the same page when they kick off efforts to legislate changes in the General Appropriations Act, specifically to define what constitutes savings and to allow its use in other agencies or projects listed in the budget.
An LP member who attended the meeting said that the gathering was meant as a show of support for the President who had been under relentless attack for his defense of the DAP and for rejecting the resignation of Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, who has been tagged as the brains behind DAP.
“The bill will define what ‘savings’ are and when to use them. I don’t agree with the SC decision that savings can be used only at the end of the fiscal year. The bill will authorize the President, Senate President, House Speaker, the Chief Justice and heads of constitutional commissions to use their savings on a quarterly basis,” said the LP member, who refused to be named for lack of authority to speak for the group.
The LP source said departments would be required to submit to Congress a quarterly report on where they got the savings and where they spent the funds.
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