HOUSE Appropriations Committee Chairperson Karlo “Ang Probinsyano” Nograles yesterday announced that the House has resumed deliberations on the P3.757 trillion 2019 national budget after the House of Representatives adopted a new Committee Report that would restore P51.7 billion and subsequently provide additional funding for the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), the Department of Health (DoH), the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
Speaking on ANC’s Headstart, the solon from Davao said that the new Committee Report adopted by the House majority was an improvement as it would address the budget cuts suffered by SUCs, as well as agencies like the DepEd and DoH.
“Mas mabuti itong committee report na ginawa ng Committee of the Whole, kasi nakikita natin na from the reductions, napunta siya dun sa naging budget cut ng DepEd, sa mga schoolbuildings, sa DoH na Health Facilities Enhancement Program, at sa SUCs, state universities and colleges,” Nograles said.
“At least makikita mo na itong kukunin from here goes directly to these certain departments and items in the different departments.”
Nograles was referring to the amounts now allotted for the construction of Tech-Voc Laboratories under the DepED (P3 billion); farm to market roads under the Department of Agriculture (P3 billion); SUCs capital outlays (P1.2 billion); health deployment (P3 billion) and health facilities (P3 billion) under the DoH; roads to tourist destinations (P10.8 billion), roads for trade and economic zones (P10.79 billion), and roads and bridges to decongest traffic (P10 billion) under the DPWH; and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund (P5 billion).
Aside from highlighting the realignments in the budget, Nograles also disputed claims that the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted by the Executive Branch, as well as the budget to be tackled on the floor, had congressional insertions, or “pork.”
“First of all, we stick by the position that it is impossible for any insertions to be done in the NEP because that purely comes from the Executive Department. If you ask DBM, if you ask the economic managers, if you ask Malacañang, they’re also sticking by the position that this is the Executive Branch’s budget. Everything that was submitted and inside the NEP is what was submitted by the executive,” stressed the legislator from Mindanao.
According to Nograles, he did not know why some quarters were claiming the budget submitted by the Executive had pork, as line items in the NEP are a result of a consultation process that involved regional development councils (RDCs) and the local government officials and legislators that comprise the RDCs.
“Every region merong regional development council. And in the regional development council, you have different regional directors meeting together with governors, mayors, congressmen to propose the projects that are good for the districts–– what projects should be made for the districts,” explained Nograles.
“And then the RDCs, the regional development councils submit all of these to DBM. And then each and every department of the agency, DBM has a budget call, they ask each and every department and agency to submit to DBM yung Tier 1, Tier 2 projects nila. And all of that is taken into consideration when crafting the budget,” he added.
Tier 1 projects refer to ongoing projects of the government, while Tier 2 projects are new undertakings.
“So sina-submit po yan sa Congress, and Congress just accepts the NEP; and this is what we debate on, this is what we discuss.”