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

Maris Federez   •   September 2, 2019   •   568

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

Gov’t still has enough budget for COVID-19 response — DBM

Marje Pelayo   •   July 8, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The national government has shed a total amount of P374.89 billion on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according President Rodrigo Duterte during the recent pre-SONA forum.

The largest chunk, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), was spent on programs designed to strengthen the country’s health sector and relief assistance to those who were affected by the lockdowns.

Still, the DBM maintained that the government has enough budget to sustain its COVID-19 response. 

“Mayroon pong sapat na pondo ang ating pamahalaan upang tugunan at labanan ang patuloy na pananalasa ng COVID-19 pandemic po sa ating bansa (Our government has enough budget to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country),” assured DBM Secretary Wendell Avisado.

Meanwhile, the government has raised around P5.28 billion US dollars budgetary financing support from development partners apart from the P126.36 million U.S dollars from ongoing financing for COVID-19 response projects.  

The Duterte Cabinet stressed the need to open the economy in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region in order for the country’s overall economy to gradually recover considering that 67 percent of the country’s economy depends on these two regions. 

However, they emphasized the public’s important role in economic recovery, thus strict compliance with the government’s minimum health standards to curb the spread of COVID-19 is critical. 

“It is vital that the economies of these regions reopen. The reality is, this virus won’t go away until a vaccine is found. In the meantime, we have to go back to work, while staying safe,” noted Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, meanwhile, urged the public to be vigilant and responsible to avoid being infected with the deadly virus. 

“Each and every Filipino needs to be very vigilant. We should all continue observing social distancing, and other public health measures such as wearing masks, and frequent washing of hands to protect each other’s health and well-being,” he said. 

“We must act responsibly,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Proposed 2021 budget under review, may be submitted in July or August – DBM

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday said it is now preparing the details of the proposed national budget for the year 2021.

During the Laging Handa public briefing, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said they are currently conducting a technical review on proposed budgets submitted by government agencies.

“Ang atin pong proposed budget for next year ay nasa P4.3 trillion. At tumaas ito ng bahagya dahil this year nasa 4.1 trillion pesos tayo. Umakyat ng kaunti lang,” Avisado said.

The Budget chief said the 2021 proposed budget will concentrate on the government’s efforts to battle the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as well as programs to assist sectors that were gravely hit by the economic fallout brought about by the pandemic.

Avisado revealed that the government has already spent some P355.67 billion for its COVID-19 response; around P247.21-billion of which was sourced from “pooled savings.”

The government is expecting to spend more money amid the pandemic.

Avisado said they are eyeing to conduct an executive budget review in July before submitting the proposal to the Office of the President on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), which is scheduled every fourth Monday of July.

The proposed budget may be submitted to Congress by the second week of August. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NEDA optimistic on PH economy’s recovery from crisis

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 11, 2020

Despite a decline in the Philippine’s gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) is optimistic the country can recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

NEDA reported a 0.2 percent decline in the country’s GDP in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the 5.7 percent growth during the same period last year.

NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Chua said the implementation of the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) of several areas in the country opens the opportunity to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Marami nang probinsya ang inilagay sa GCQ. Ibig sabihin, pwede na sa trabaho ang 75% of workers. So ito po ay inaasahan natin na makatulong sa pagbalik sigla ng ekonomiya, (There are now a lot of provinces under GCQ. It means 75% of workers can return to work. So we are expecting this can help in the economy’s recovery),” he said.

Chua reported there is a slow growth in all major sectors of the economy after a few businesses were only allowed to operate under the ECQ.

“Growth in the Services sector significantly moderated to 1.4 percent. Industry sector growth also declined by 3.0 percent, with the drop in manufacturing and construction and the sustained decline in mining and quarrying,” he said.

However, despite this, the country still enjoys a low and stable inflation and is still in a good position to recover strongly because of our country’s solid macroeconomic and fiscal management.

Chua said they are already coordinating with Congress to come up with an economy recovery program for industries and business affected by the health crisis.

“The program will include highly targeted tax incentives that are time-bound, transparent, and performance-based to help us attract the right types of investments and help firms recover,” he said. AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

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