No ‘pork’ in 2020 nat’l budget – speaker

Alan Peter Cayetano & Martin Romualdez
2020 PEOPLE’S BUDGET. DBM Acting Secretary Wendel Avisado (3rd left) submits to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (3rd right) the copy of National Expenditures Program (NEP) 2020 at the House of Representatives. With them are (from left) House Minority leader Bienvenido Abante, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Committee on Appropriations Chairman Rep. Isidro Ungab and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte. The proposed P4.1 trillion general appropriation is the 4th budget of President Duterte’s Administration. Photo by Ver Noveno

THE 2020 national budget will have no pork and no “parking” of funds.

This was the assurance of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano as he led the House of Representatives in accepting the proposed national budget which will be scrutinized in the next few weeks and passed on time to avoid reenacted budget.

Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the House leadership under Speaker Cayetano is committed to pass a constitutionally compliant national budget for year 2020.

Romualdez said the House will comply with the Supreme Court ruling that outlawed any form of pork barrel. “Definitely, the pork barrel system is a thing of the past,” he said.  

“Line item budgeting system will be strictly observed to ensure transparency and accountability in the disbursement of public funds,” Romualdez said.

“We also commend the President’s commitment through acting Budget Secretary Avisado to ensure an equitable and corruption-free distribution of government resources to further propel the economy,” he added.

Yesterday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) formally submitted to the House the proposed P4.1 trillion budget for the next fiscal year.

The budget is 12 percent higher than 2019 budget of P3.662 trillion and is expected to fund programs and projects that will continue the journey towards a more peaceful and progressive Philippines.

“It will continue to support our inclusive growth strategies, aimed at accelerating investments in public infrastructure, improving anti-poverty programs and intensifying employment generation,” DBM Sec. Wendel Avisado said.

According to Cayetano, there will be no more pork barrel for the lawmakers on the proposed budget because equitable distribution of funds will be implemented.

“Pork barrel is a thing of the past. This budget will have a development funds. No need for the pork because the budget is equitable,” Cayetano said.

He added that each lawmaker will get at least P400 million to P500 million from the Department of Public Works and Highways for their proposed infrastructure projects.

Cayetano assured that there will be no “parking” of funds in the national budget or the listing of huge budgetary items under the national budget for a certain congressional district.

He stressed that the budget will focus on good governance and fight against corruption, which is the flagship program of the Duterte administration.

Included on 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 a lion’s shares are the Department of Education (DepEd), P673 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), P534.3 billion; Department of 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 budget hearings will kick off on Thursday, August 22, at 9 am with a briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), the inter-agency body that determines the overall economic targets, expenditure levels and budget of the government. The DBCC is composed of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Finance (DOF), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).