President Rodrigo Duterte will sign the proposed P4.1-trillion budget in the first week of January next year, the Palace said Thursday.
The President has extended the availability
of this year’s government funds until the last day of 2020 under the Republic Act 11464 since he has yet to approve the proposed national budget for next year.
READ: Rody extends 2019 budget MOE
Lawmakers moved to extend the validity of the 2019 government funds following the months-long delay in the approval of the 2020 budget that was marred with allegations of pork insertions.
Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier claimed that around P83.219 billion worth of budget items were included in the proposed 2020 General Appropriations Act as a “source” of funds for pet projects of some lawmakers.
But Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President will veto any unconstitutional provisions in the budget.
“He will go through that. That’s the attitude of the President. He is careful before signing,” he said.
Senate finance committee chairman Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said on Thursday that education will get the biggest part of the budget next year, as it remains the top priority.
He said the reconciled version of the P4.1-trillion national budget that was approved by Congress granted an increase of P17.1 billion for the Department of Education, state universities and colleges (SUCs), and the Commission on Higher Education to fund various programs.
A total of P8.349 billion was added to the budgets of the 114 state universities and colleges, including P2.786 billion for the University of the Philippines System to augment its budget for hospital services program, renovation, and construction of various buildings and the improvement of its fiber-optic network, among others.
The rest of the funds will be used by the SUCs for research awards and the conduct of activities for sports and development, ICT and campus modernization programs.
CHED was granted an increase of P7.1 billion that will go to the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education; the provision of assistance and incentives, scholarships and grants through the Student Financial Assistance Program.
Another P1 billion was provided to support the Private Education Students Financial Assistance Program.
For the DepEd, a net increase of P1.697 billion was granted to finance various programs aimed at addressing the needs of the education sector and improving the overall quality of education in the country.
Among the programs to be funded by the increase in the DepEd’s budget is the national assessment system for basic education.
READ: 2020 budget tops Senate feat