By Cielito M. Reganit
MANILA, Dec. 16 (PNA) — The House of Representatives ratified Monday the reconciled national budget for 2014 amounting to P2.264 trillion.
The said amount is P3.2 billion lower than what was originally proposed by Malacañang after the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation for 15 senators, and a P200-million discretionary fund of Vice-President Jejomar Binay were removed.
One of the highlights of the 2014 General Appropriations Bill was the inclusion of over P100 billion for the relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction of the various calamity-devastated areas.
It consists of P20 billion from the programmed fund of the 2014 national budget and P80 billion from the unprogrammed fund.
Based on what was agreed in Congress, the rehabilitation and reconstruction fund would go to the areas that the following calamities had affected: Typhoons Yolanda, Santi, Labuyo, Vinta, Odette, Pablo and Sendong; the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol; and the Zamboanga City siege.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. noted that it would be the fourth year that Congress had passed a final version of the budget before the fiscal year ends.
“The final version of the proposed 2014 budget was voted on and passed overwhelmingly with very few objections,” he said.
“It would now be submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III and I can say with confidentiality that he would sign it by December 20 (Friday),” he noted. (PNA)