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2-week marathon budget discussion starts

  • Written by RPP
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THE House of Representatives will begin this morning the two-week plenary marathon deliberations on the first national budget of President Rodrigo Duterte for 2017 with the aim of having it signed into law before the year ends.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, will sponsor and lead the debate of the general principles and provisions of next year’s P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

“We will begin the two-week marathon deliberations (from Monday to Friday) of the national budget tomorrow (Monday) to approve this (on third and final reading) by third week of next month and transmit this to the Senate,” said Nograles who will take the lead role of defending the budget of President Duterte along with his vice chairmen in the initial debates that will focus on the general macroeconomic assumptions and principles used by President Duterte in putting together the 2017 budget.
      
On the first day of plenary consideration of the national budget, Nograles will defend the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) while Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte will sponsor the Department of Finance (DoF) and its attached agencies.
     
Villafuerte will also sponsor the budget of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and Government Commission for Government-owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs).
   
Also this Monday, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, a former chairman of the appropriations committee, will sponsor the budget of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and its attached agencies.
   
During the committee hearings, the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) presented the budget overview, including the macro-economic assumptions, projected borrowings and sources of funds for the country’s annual operations.
   
The DBCC, which is an inter-agency body, is composed of the DBM, National NEDA, DoF, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
   
Nograles said the proposed budget of P3.35 trillion, which is 11.6 percent higher than last year’s P3.002 trillion, reflects the Duterte administration’s priorities next year as it intensifies efforts to combat crime, illegal drugs and corruption, enhance economic growth through regional development, and bring about other reforms.
     
House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, a stalwart of the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said the House of Representatives will ratify the national budget by December.
   
“We will pass the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) in time for the President to sign it into the General Appropriations Act (GAA) on or before we adjourn on December 14. This will be the first National Expenditure Program (NEP) of President Rody and we will see his priorities for his first year in office,” Fariñas said.
   
Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno said the budgets for 2017 until 2022 will support the President’s promise to improve the country’s infrastructure, invest in human resources, modernize agriculture and rural development, and develop lagging regions.
   
For 2017, the budget for conditional cash transfer which was increased to P78.7 billion to benefit 4.62 families, including the P23.4 billion rice allowance.
     
The following are the departments that will get big appropriations: Department of Education (P567 billion); Department of Public Works and Highways (P458 billion); Department of Interior and Local Government (P150 billion); Department of National Defense (P134 billion); and, Department of Social Welfare and Development (P129 billion).