No ‘objectionable’ item in 2020 budget

January 12, 2020
Rodrigo Duterte

TWO House leaders on Sunday welcomed a budget official statement that there is no “objectionable” item found in the P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget that President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte recently signed into law, proving that the Cayetano-Romualdez-led House leadership is against pork barrel, parking of funds and insertions.

Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga, Jr. agreed with Budget Director Ryan Lita that the national budget is free of any controversial item that could not withstand a test of constitutionality.

“Speaker Cayetano, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and House appropriations chairman and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab together with the entire House membership did a great job for the Executive department in ensuring that this budget passes with no pork, no delay, no insertions and no parking,” said Defensor, who chairs the House Committee on Public Accounts.

Barzaga, president of the National Unity Party (NUP) and chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said “the House leadership ensured open, public and transparent debates and discussions on the national budget to ensure greater transparency.”

“Based on the review by the DBM, we didn’t find any item of appropriation provision or proviso that is strongly objectionable vis-à-vis existing laws and policies, and which cannot be addressed by conditional implementation or general observation,” said Lita.  

With the signing of the 2020 national budget, the ball is now in the Executive department’s court on “how to spend the funds in a fast but proper manner so the usual problem of underspending will be avoided,” said House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera.

Herrera, a member of the budget-writing bicameral conference committee, issued this reminder, noting that the Executive “has actually two budgets it should spend this year.”

The first one is the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2020 or the P4.1 trillion spending measure, which President Duterte signed into law Monday, she said.

The second is the unspent portion of the 2019 GAA, the use of which, through Republic Act (RA) No. 11464, was extended until the end of this year.