Two House leaders on Sunday welcomed a budget official statement that there is no “objectionable” item contained in the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into a law.
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor and Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. shared the same opinion with Budget Director Ryan Lita that the national budget is free of any controversial item.
“Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and appropriations committee 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,” Defensor said.
Barzaga, for his part, said “the House committee on natural resources, said “the House leadership ensured an open, public and transparent debates and discussions on the national budget to ensure greater transparency.”
“Based on the review by the Department of Budget and Management, 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,” Lita said.
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,” House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera.
The party-list lawmaker, a member of the budget-writing bicameral conference committee, issued the reminder, noting that the executive “has actually two budgets it should spend this year.”
The first one is the General Appropriations Act for 2020 or the P4.1 trillion spending measure.
The second is the unspent portion of the 2019 GAA through Republic Act 11464 was extended until the end of this year.
“So if government were a car, it will start the year with a full tank of gas plus a reserve tank from last year’s unused supply,“ Herrera said.
“Under this circumstance, what should it do? Step on the gas so it will have all its pistons running. The first half of this year is the make up period for the last year’s late passage of the budget,” she said.
“Because expenditure-wise, this is no ordinary year. Roll out and use of funds must also be different in the sense that agencies must work double time in spending their allocations,” she noted.