DBM withdraws corrections to P2.6-trillion budget bill
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has withdrawn its corrections to the proposed P2.6 trillion budget for 2015 that was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives last week.
“No reason” was given for the withdrawal, the appropriations committee chairman, Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab Jr., said Thursday.
The DBM earlier submitted 100 pages of errata to the proposed P2.6-trillion budget for 2015, consisting mostly of “typographical errors” and details to complete missing figures, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said.
Minority lawmakers had cried foul over the errata, which they characterized as “midnight insertions” in the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2015 by the executive to try to circumvent congressional oversight over the budget.
Ungab said the committee tasked by the plenary to oversee amendments to the proposed budget law was convened Thursday morning. The last day of the period for amendments was Wednesday.
“We first agreed to give time to the secretariat, that is one week to consolidate and make a matrix per department of all requests for amendments or errata. Then we will convene next week to discuss the proposed amendments,” he said.
Ungab said the committee would ensure that any erratum or amendment to the 2015 budget “shall be in accordance with laws, rules and prevailing jurisprudence and decisions of the Supreme Court on these matters.”
On Friday, the House approved on second reading the proposed 2015 budget law. It is expected to be approved on third and final reading after Congress resumes later this month.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares had objected to the DBM’s submission of errata, which he surmised included a “redefinition” or “re-prioritization” of savings in a number of budget items.
The executive has sought to redefine savings in the wake of the Supreme Court decision striking down the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), a stimulus program launched in 2011 ostensibly to pump-prime the economy.
In voiding the DAP, the Supreme Court ruled that savings and standby appropriations could be declared only at the end of the fiscal year.
But the DBM has redefined savings in the proposed budget law for 2015 such that savings from discontinued projects may be declared even before yearend.
DBM submits ‘errata’ to 2015 national budget
Abad: ‘Errata’ in 2015 budget only for ‘typographical errors’
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