Romualdez sees economic growth with budget OK

September 23, 2019
Martin Romualdez

“OUR national budget for next year will give a very strong foundation to ensure the successful implementation of President Duterte’s programs with sustainable and equitable growth that would provide comfortable life for Filipinos.”

This strong assurance on the benefits for the nation on the target signing into law by December of the proposed P4.1 trillion national was voiced by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez Monday.

“(Our) GDP (gross domestic product) will grow, and I think all the budget and revenue reforms will help us get a credit upgrade which will bring our interest down and provide for us billions of savings,” Romualdez told reporters in an ambush interview after the House of Representatives in record time approved the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) on third and final reading last Friday.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said his leadership is eyeing P10 billion institutional amendments in the national budget for the procurement of palay, 2020 Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Para Games and Tokyo Olympics, improvement of the K to 12 program, Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2018, and nationwide electrification.

“So in my personal calculation, less than P10 billion pa lang. But as I’ve said, it’s a P4.1-trillion budget. If you change 10 percent, that’s P400 billion. If you change one percent, that’s P40 billion,” said Cayetano in the same ambush interview.

“Number one is increasing ‘yung pambili ng palay from P7 billion to P10 billion,” said Cayetano.

Cayetano said they would source the realigned funds from the postponement of barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls and right-of-way (ROW).

“First is sa Barangay election, so hindi naman natin itutuloy ang barangay election. So there’s more than P5 billion. The other one, nakita natin yung right-of-way (ROW) funds, ay hindi naman magagamit lahat,” said Cayetano.

“Let me assure you, wala tayong ibabawas na mayroon tayong kumpiyansa na magagamit. So tinitignan namin ngayon kung nasaan ‘yung taba. Kung muscle ‘yun, hindi namin gagalawin,” said Cayetano.

As stated in the 2020 GAB, the top 10 departments with the biggest allocations are: (1) Department of Education, P673 billion; (2) Department of Public Works and Highways, P534.3 billion; (3)
Department of the Interior and Local Government, P238 billion; (4) Department of Social Welfare and Development, P195 billion; (5) Department of National Defense, P189 billion; (6) Department of Health, P166.5 billion; (7) Department of Transportation, P147 billion; (8) Department of Agriculture, P93.1 billion; (9) The Judiciary, P38.7 billion; and (10) Department of Environment and Natural Resources, P26.4 billion.

Among the critical programs of the Duterte administration are measures to implement new laws and policies that provide socio-economic assistance to all Filipinos and enhance security of the nation, such as the following: (1) full implementation of the Universal Health Care Act; (2) institutionalization of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program; (3) smooth transition to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; (4) implementation of the liberalization of rice importation; (5) creation of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development; and (6) National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.