House okays 2020 budget

September 20, 2019
Martin Romualdez and Paolo Duterte
Martin Romualdez and Paolo Duterte

EXACTLY one month after receiving it, the House of Representatives approved the proposed 2020 national budget amounting to P4.1 trillion on third and final reading.

House Bill 4228 or the General Appropriations Bill was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Under the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, the Lower Chamber finished the deliberation in just nine days, one of the fastest in the history of the House of Representatives.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) transmitted the National Expenditure Program last August 20. The House Committee on Appropriations led by Davao City Mayor Isidro Ungab did not waste time and immediately scheduled hearings for every department and agencies.

Cayetano gave assurances that the 2020 budget contains no pork and no parking and was intended to support the programs of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Yung No Pork, No Parking, No Delay, yan ang mantra na namin. But  having said that, we have to emphasize, hindi pa rin perpekto ang budget, especially nga nagkatransition din ang DBM, nagkaroon ng changes sa Cabinet Members, nagkaroon ng epekto yung delay ng budget this year, nasa focus ngayon ang flagship programs ng gubyerno, kung ano nga ba ang matatapos at kung ano nga ba ang nasa listahan o hindi,” Cayetano said.

For his part, Romualdez said that the 2020 budget will be alloted equitably to support the program of the Duterte administration.

“As envisioned by the President, the 2020 national budget seeks to move the nation forward towards its aspired-for destination, a more peaceful and progressive Philippines,” Romualdez said.

Included in the 2020 budget are the critical programs, namely, Universal Healthcare (P166.5 billion); National Health Insurance Program  (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) (P92.2 billion); Department of Health Human Resources for Health Deployment (P7 billion); Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (P108.8 billion); Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (P70.6 billion); Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (P10 billion) Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (P641.6 million) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (P622.3 million).,

The top ten departments that will be getting lion’s share are the Department of Education (DepEd), P673 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), P534.3 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Govt. (DILG), P238 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD),  P195 billion; Department of National Defense (DND), P189 billion; Department of Health (DoH), P166.5 billion; Department of Transportation (DoTr), P147 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA), P56.8 billion; the Judiciary, P38.7 billion and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), P26.4 billion.

The P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020 is 12 percent higher than the 2019 budget of P3.662-trillion.

With the theme “Continuing the Journey to a More Peaceful and Progressive Philippines” the 2020 budget will fund projects and programs that will continue the journey towards a more peaceful and progressive Philippines.

The DBM said the 2020 budget will continue to support inclusive growth strategies, aimed at accelerating investments in public infrastructure, improving anti-poverty programs, and intensifying employment generation.

About 37.2 percent or P1.52 trillion of the budget will go to social services; 28.9 percent or P1.18-trillion to economic services; 18 percent or P734.5 billion  to general public services; 11 percent or P451 billion to debt burden (including net lending); and 4.8 percent or P195.6 billion to defense.

The spending priorities are infrastructure development, food security, human capital development, and peace and national security. The Build, Build, Build Program will continue to be the flagship program of the Duterte administration’s infrastructure development with a P972.5 billion proposed budget, representing 4.6 percent of the country’s GDP.