House of Representatives ratifies bicam report on P3.002-T national budget for 2016

MANILA, Dec. 17 (PNA) — The House of Representatives assured there will be no reenactment of this year’s national budget by ratifying Wednesday night the bicameral conference committee report on House Bill 6132, which provides for a P3.002–trillion national budget for 2016.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. expressed elation over the ratification of the bicam report and congratulated the House members for managing to pass the 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA) for President Aquino’s signature and ready for implementation for the coming fiscal year.

“Let me congratulate everyone for the timely passage of the 2016 GAA. For six consecutive years now, we have managed to pass the General Appropriations Act for the President’s approval, and ready for implementation for the coming fiscal year. I believe that we have now firmly established the NEW NORM in the enactment of the national government budget,” said the Speaker.

Belmonte said the next Government and succeeding Congresses will have no more excuses for failing to pass the budget on time, so that reenacted budgets will truly be a thing of the past.

“I need not elaborate on the importance and significance of the timely enactment of the budget. It is certainly a significant component in the improvement of public financial management and of the country’s macroeconomic economic environment that has resulted in the upgrade of our credit rating and competitiveness ranking,” said the Speaker during his speech at the adjournment of session for the Yuletide break of lawmakers.

The bicameral committee chaired by Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep. Isidro T. Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, had their first meeting last Dec. 1 on House Bill 6132, which proposed a P3.002-trillion national budget for next year. After several meetings, the panel last week approved the reconciled Senate-House amendments to the budget bill.

Ungab cited there were four substantial changes, restorations and augmentations in HB 6132 that were reflected in the bicam report, namely: an increase of P1.2 billion in the budget for indigent senior citizens; an increase in the budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) by P2.7 billion to cover their capital outlays; the veterans’ pension totaling P4.7 billion was sustained; and provision of P7 billion to fully fund the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) of 2015 for its first tranche of implementation next year.

“We thank the members of the House for ratifying the budget. This is the sixth consecutive year that the budget was approved on time for the government to start the year with a ready budget to operate. So by January 1, 2016, there will be a new budget of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Ungab.

The bicameral report provides for a total programmed new appropriations of P2.071 trillion and unprogrammed funds of P67.5 billion.

ThetTop 10 agencies in terms of budgetary allocations are: Department of Education (DepEd), P411.905 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), P384.287 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), P124.229 billion; Department of Health (DOH), P123.510 billion; Department of National Defense (DND), P117.521 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), P110.816 billion; Department of Agriculture (DA), P48.447 billion; State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), P47.414 billion; Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), P42.680 billion; and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), P28.492 billion. (PNA)