Recall of GAB may affect passage of proposed 2020 national budget – Rep. Ungab

Maris Federez   •   September 2, 2019   •   721

House Committee on Appropriations chairperson Isidro Ungab

A lawmaker expressed concern over a possible delay in the passage of the proposed 2020 national budget.

This is after Camarines Sur 2nd district representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte on August 28 recalled the filed General Appropriations Bill.

This came as a surprise to Davao 3rd district representative and House Committee on Appropriations chairperson Isidro Ungab.

Ungab said he had already written Villafuerte to inform him that Apo Production Unit and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) are already close to completing the printing of the GAB and that they are soon to start furnishing copies to the members of the House.

Congressman Ungab said amending the GAB will once again take too much time and resources and will delay the passage of the budget.

“If you change the GAB, you will be conducting another set of budget hearings so made-delay talaga. The general appropriations bill is a photocopy of the NEP it is the same budget,” Ungab insisted.

He added that changing the proposed budget that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted will also cause doubt among their fellow lawmakers.

Villafuerte, on the other hand, said the filing of the proposed bill is still premature as the budget briefing is still on-going.

He reiterated that based on House rules, budget briefing must be completed first before the GAB is filed.

Villafuerte added that this is only a procedural matter and that it will not affect the timeline in passing the national budget.

“Parang ang pangit tingnan na di pa nga tapos, ipa-file na. Parang masyado namang nagmamadali. Tinatanggalan na kami ng power to hear or make suggestions [It might not look good to file (the bill) when (the briefing) is not yet finished. It’s as if we are doing things in haste. We are now being denied of the power to hear or make suggestions],” Villafuerte said.

The House had earlier promised to pass the proposed 2020 national budget before the first session break on October 4. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

PH policy limiting advance payments to 15% may hamper COVID-19 vaccine procurement – DBM chief

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado on Friday raised the need to increase the 15-percent limitation on advance payments on the contract amount for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines amid government preparations for the roll-out of its inoculation plans.

Avisado said raising the down payment limit will “ensure the timely and efficient implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination plan.”

Memorandum Order No. 172, s. 2005 only allows advance payment not exceeding 15% of the contract amount for procurement of goods required to address contingencies arising from natural or man-made calamities in areas where a “State of Calamity” has been declared by appropriate authorities.

Avisado said the government is presently experiencing difficulties in negotiating with various pharmaceutical companies due to the limitations imposed under existing laws.

“…Currently, pwede ka lang magbayad o mag advance payment hanggang 15%… Ang gusto ng mga pharmaceutical industries, bayaran mo na… I-aadvance mo na ang payment bago ma-ideliver… In other words, talagang tatalunin tayo ng mga mayayamang bansa,” Avisado said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Avisado called for greater patience and understanding from the public regarding the vaccine procurement process.

He stressed that the government cannot divulge specific details on its negotiations with pharmaceutical companies—such as prices and the manners of delivery—as both parties are bound by a confidentiality agreement.

However, he assured that all of the transactions made by the government remain legitimate and honest.

The government is also committed to ensure the safe and timely procurement, transportation, and administration of COVID-19 vaccines despite all of the limitations and challenges, he added.

“Bigyan natin ng pagkakataon naman ang ating pamahalaan na makalap muna at makakuha ng vaccine. Kasi hindi pa man nangyayari yan, ay katakot-takot na batikos ang naririnig natin, meron po mga pamamaraan dyan, kung saan makikita’t makikita natin kung meron talagang kalokohan,” Avisado said.

The DBM chief also reassured the public that the budget for the said vaccines has already been allocated and is now ready for release.

He likewise welcomed and acknowledged the efforts of various local government units across the country for complementing and cooperating with the national government in its efforts to secure the much-needed vaccines.

“Meron tayong pondo dyan…. P82.5B ang inilaan ng ating pamahalaan. Wag po tayong mag worry. Nakikipagtulungan ang mga local government units natin at sila din ay handa na bumili sa abot ng kanilang makakaya. We appreciate that very much po,” Avisado said.

Duterte signs laws extending validity of 2020 budget, Bayanihan Law 2

Robie de Guzman   •   January 6, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed laws extending the validity of the 2020 national budget and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2), according to documents released by Malacañang on Wednesday.

Republic Act 11520 extends the validity of the 2020 General Appropriations Act until December 31, 2021.

Under this measure, all appropriations authorized in the 2020 budget, including budgetary support to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCC), will be available for release and disbursement until the end of the year.

The appropriations for the infrastructure capital outlays for the fiscal year 2020, including those subsidy releases to GOCCs for infrastructure projects shall be valid for obligation until December 31, while the completion of construction, inspection, and payment shall be made not later than the same date.

Appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses, and other capital outlays items shall likewise be valid for obligation until December 31, with the delivery, inspection, and payment be made not later than the same date.

Republic Act 11519 extends the validity of the appropriations under the Bayanihan Law 2 until June 30, 2021. The law expired on December 19 last year.

Duterte signed the two measures on December 29, 2020.

PH economic growth slows down by 11.5% in third quarter — NEDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 10, 2020

The Philippine economy has dropped by 11.5% in the third quarter of 2020, according to the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

NEDA said this is lower compared to the 16.9% recorded last second quarter. This is the third consecutive quarter where the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined.

According to NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic heavily affected the country’s economy.

The quarantine restrictions limited business operations and also affected other industries including foreign tourism.

“The double digit contraction in the third quarter is not surprising given the return to more stringent quarantine measures in NCR and neighboring provinces and Cebu City which together account for around 60 percent of the Philippine Economy,” he said.

However, Malacañang remains positive that the country will be able to recover from the economic setback.

NEDA also expressed assurance that the country will be able to recover by 2021. -AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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