Minority bloc vows to scrutinize budget

THE House Minority group vowed to cooperate in passing the national budget on time, but will still fulfill its duty to scrutinize it.

As the House of Representatives started its deliberation on the proposed 2020 national budget in the committee level, Minority Leader Benny Abante  Jr. said the members of the Minority would thoroughly check the National Expenditure Plan (NEP) submitted by the Executive Department.

Yesterday the House Committee on Appropriations kicked off the budget hearing with the Development Budget Coordination Committee meeting involving members of the President’s economic team and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

Abante said that after the country experienced the detrimental effects of delays in the passage of the General Appropriations Act (GAA), those in the Minority “are committed to doing what is in the best interests of our people, and that includes passing the National Budget on time.”

“It is with this in mind that the Minority will thoroughly scrutinize the NEP while balancing the need to pass the GAA promptly in order not to delay the delivery of services to the people—because we in the Minority recognize that fulfilling our duties to properly examine and thoroughly comb through the items of the proposed NEP is just as important as the timely passage of the GAA,” Abante said.

“We will endeavor to work with our colleagues from the Majority to pass the National Budget at the right time, commit to do it the right way, and work to ensure that our financial resources are allocated for the right priorities,” he added.

Abante said that the Minority bloc had agreed with their counterparts in the Majority that grandstanding would be discouraged, “so that more time can be committed to addressing legitimate, relevant budget allocation and implementation issues.”

The proposed National Budget is the largest in history, with 4.1 trillion pesos allotted for programs and projects meant to benefit 104.9 million Filipinos.

Around P3.36 trillion has been allotted for Social Services and Economic Services combined.

“If properly allocated, if appropriately prioritized, the GAA can be an instrument that can literally transform the lives of our people by providing them with more economic opportunities and equipping them with more tools by which to improve their lives,” Abante said.