Sen. Lacson urged to identify questionable P20-B in proposed 2020 national budget

Maris Federez   •   November 4, 2019   •   674

Sen. Panfilo Lacson

A lawmaker in the House of Representatives wants Senator Panfilo Lacson to identify what he calls “parked funds” in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 as approved by the House of Representatives.

House Deputy Speaker for Finance and Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymond Villafuerte reiterated that the lower chamber did not touch or changed anything in the proposed budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

“Yung sinasabing 20 billion, I think naka-line yan, hindi lang malinaw. Siguro kailangan lang linawin yan ng mga department. Wala kaming ginalaw or inamend from the NEP,” Villafuerte said.

To clear up everything, Villafuerte wants Lacson to identify the said questionable item in the national budget.

“May mga lumpsum, for example feasibility study, right of way, foreign assisted. I think he has to, makakatulong kung eemphasize niya kung alin dun,” Villafuerte added.

Malacanang, meanwhile, also said that all it takes is for Lacson to point out the questionable amount and the President will remove it.

“Tell Sen Lacson to point out the specific item in the GAA and the President will remove it,” said Presidential spokesperson Atty Salvador Panelo.

Conversely, Lacson is confident that the President will remove the questionable fund, like what he did in the P95-Billion fund inserted in the House level for the 2019 national budget.

Lacson said that he will be the one who will propose to have the questionable amount removed when it reached the Senate.

In the meantime, Congressman Villafuerte is hoping that the 2020 national budget will be deliberated upon at the bicameral conference by the end of November.

He said they would want to discuss the additional funds for infrastructure, health, and the areas affected by the recent earthquakes.

The house targets to have the budget enacted by the first week of December. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /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.

SAP will no longer be funded under proposed 2021 national budget —DBM

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 9, 2020

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said there will be no budget to be allotted for the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) under the proposed 2021 National Budget.

DBM Secretary Wendel Avisado said they expect the economy to recover next year with additional job opportunities available.

He also clarified that there will still be an allotted budget for the regular programs of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“We’re looking at the improvement in the economy and the opportunity for people to be able to work already. And we still have the regular programs, the 4Ps your honor, that will be continued,” he said on Wednesday (September 9) during a Senate hearing.

Under the proposed P4.5 trillion budget, P171 billion will be allotted to the DSWD. AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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