House OKs P2.006-T gov't budget for 2013
MANILA, Philippines - Voting 195-6, the House of Representatives on Monday, October 15, voted on third and final reading government's P2.006-trillion budget for 2013.
House committee on appropriations chairman Cavite Rep Joseph Emilio "Jun" Abaya said they hardly touched the budget submitted by Malacañang in July. The same version, House Bill 6455, breezed through 2nd reading last month.
Its passage on 3rd and final reading was also breeze.The House leadership earlier created a committee that received proposed amendments from House members.
Out of the 6 representatives who voted against the budget bill, only one curiously came from the opposition party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats - Siquijor Rep Orlando Fua.
Minority leader Quezon Rep Danilo Suarez earlier delivered a speech opposing the Malacañang budget. The party has 28 members in the House of Representatives.
The other 5 who voted against the budget bill came from the Leftist Makabayan bloc: Bayan Muna Rep Teddy Casiňo, Gabriela Representatives Emmi de Jesus and Luzviminda Ilagan, ACT Teachers Rep Antonio Tinio, and Anakpawis Rep Rafael Mariano.
No major amendments
Abaya said there are no major amendments to the Malacañang budget. The Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel is intact. Senator still get P200-million and representatives, P70-million.
But Abaya said they expanded the "menu of options," where the pork barrel may be used. Lawmakers may now fund training of local officials through the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP).
The Lower House also broke down the criticized lumpsum funds, particularly the P22-billion Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund. The projects it will fund are now itemized.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr said the approved 2013 General Appropriations Bill will be immediately sent to the Senate on Tuesday, October 16. Senate is yet to finish committee deliberations - or first reading - on the bill.
After the Senate okays its budget version, select senators and the representatives will sit down in the bicameral conference committee to consolidate the two versions of the budget bill. It is in the bicam - a closed-door meeting - that major amendments to the budget are usually made. - Rappler.com