House panel set to receive P3.35-T nat’l budget proposal
The chairman of the appropriations committee of the House of Representatives said on Sunday that he is looking forward to receiving the first national budget proposal of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte which amounts to P3.35 trillion pesos.
Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles said that the General Appropriations Act of 2017 will be submitted to the House at noon on Monday.
Nograles said that the P3.35 trillion budget, which is 11.6 percent higher than last year’s P3.002 trillion budget, will help the administration realize its goal of eradicating poverty, illegal drugs, and criminality.
READ: DBM to recommend P3.35-T nat’l budget for 2017
“It is a budget for change. It will jumpstart the realization of the President’s dream for our country and for our people. It will fuel the President’s quest to defeat the drug menace and the systemic corruption in our country. It will finance our government’s war against poverty, crime and corruption,” said Nograles.
The appropriations committee chair vowed swift passage of the budget in the Lower House even if it meant holding marathon hearings.
“We are pressed for time. Kami naman mga Kongresista kung kailangang pagpuyatan, nagpupuyat naman kami. Wala namang problema sa overtime, wala naman pong problema kung kailangang pagpuyatan ‘yan; ready naman kami (We in Congress will stay up late if needed. We don’t have a problem with overtime, and we don’t have a problem with staying up late; we are ready). We’ve always shown to the Filipino people that when the times call for it, when we need to step up, when we need to work overtime, we do it. Ginagawa naman po namin,” he said.
Should all things run smoothly, Nograles said that they would submit the budget for a preliminary debate by Sept. 19 and pass it on third reading on Sept. 30.
“If all goes well, the House will complete its part on the budget process before October. We will then pass it on to the Senate. If there are any deviations from our version then we go into bicam. After that, we will pass it on to the President who will then sign it into law by December. This will be the first appropriations measure under the Duterte administration so we really have to act swiftly and judiciously,” the Davao City representative said.
Meanwhile, Senator Ralph Recto urged the Duterte administration to itemize the projects that it aims to fund should Congress grant emergency powers to the President to solve Metro Manila’s transportation woes.
“Listing them in the budget is the best response to the Senate challenge that the projects must be ‘FOI-compliant’ and ‘fiscally-responsible,’” Recto said in a separate statement on Sunday.
“Itemization also answers the need for the Palace to provide the details of the projects that it plans to carry out in a speedy manner that the emergency powers sought would allow,” Recto added.
The budget and management department earlier said that the administration would prioritize the improvement of the country’s infrastructure, agricultural modernization and providing social services to Filipinos.
The 2017 budget will represent 20.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was earlier quoted as saying that the government would earmark P900 billion for infrastructure, P118 billion for the construction of school buildings, and P50 billion for the government’s subsidy for health insurance premium payments for indigent families. JE/rga
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