MANILA, Philippines – Congress on the last session day for the year ratified a supplemental budget to authorize the government to spend P22,467,608,000 this year to fund various items.
The House of Representatives on Wednesday, December 17, opted to adopt the version of the Senate, which passed the supplementary budget bill on 3rd and final reading earlier in the evening. This means a bicameral conference committee is no longer necessary to reconcile the different versions of the two legislative chambers.
The bulk of the budget – almost P8 billion – goes to the National Housing Authority (NHA) to fund the construction of 27,313 units of permanent housing for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
Another P2 billion will go to Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) for the typhoon victims, a program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
The supplemental budget also gave P2 billion for the “rehabilitation and capacity extension” of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3), including the total replacement of the existing signaling system and the rehabilitation of escalators and elevators.
|NHA||Construction of 27,313 units of permanent housing for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda||7,999,978,000|
|DSWD||Emergency Shelter Assistance for victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda||2,084,480,000|
|DOTC||Rehabilitation of MRT-3||1,207,163,000|
Senate committee on finance chairman Senator Francis Escudero said the supplemental budget will be funded by the excess dividend collections of the national treasury. He added that he obtained from the state treasurer a certification of the excess collection and actual availability of the fund.
Senator Miriam Santiago opposed the supplemental budget, however, saying it was “irregular”.
“Is the supplemental budget meant to give President Aquino and Budget Secretary Abad a way out of the Supreme Court unanimous decision that some aspects of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) are unconstitutional?” she said in her statement on Wednesday.
Fund stalled pork, DAP projects
The supplemental budget also funds obligations of the Department of Public Works and Highways over projects that were stalled because of the Supreme Court ruling on the pork barrel and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
This amounts to a total of P1,902,743,000 for the pork barrel projects. Among the DAP projects, on the other hand, are the following:
- Coconut Scale Insect Emergency Action Plan for coconut farmers amounting to P340,345,000
- Rehabilitation of LRT Lines 1 and 2 with a total amount of P727,690,000
- Construction of fish ports, lighthouses and seawalls with a total appropriation of P196,385,000
“Just like what we did in the 2014 budget, we require them to submit a special budget in accordance with the Revised Administrative Code,” said Escudero.
The DSWD will also get funds amounting to P1,942,521,000 for the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government will also get P2,833,282,000 for the operational transformation plan of the Philippine National Police. – Rappler.com