Where House is proposing to realign P9.52 billion in 2020 budget

Mara Cepeda

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Where House is proposing to realign P9.52 billion in 2020 budget

Darren Langit

Lawmakers want the Department of Agriculture to benefit the most from the proposed realignments by giving the agency an additional P3.5 billion to help rice farmers

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is proposing to realign a total of P9.52 billion under the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 to benefit various government agencies.

The biggest beneficiary would be the Department of Agriculture, which lawmakers want to give an additional P3.5 billion to so it could buy more palay from farmers amid the plummeting farmgate prices in parts of the country.

The P9.52 billion will come from the P5.77 billion initially allocated to the Commission on Elections to fund the 2020 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections and another P3.75 billion that was originally set for right-of-way funds under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The proposed budget realignments – which the House officially calls institutional amendments – are a product of the individual amendments to the budget that legislators submitted to a small committee formed by the House leadership to vet such amendments.

But this list of institutional amendments came after the House approved the 2020 general appropriations bill on 3rd and final reading last week.

Section 25, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution bars Congress from making amendments to a bill that has already been passed on 3rd reading. 

But Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the House merely followed a process that has long been practiced by legislators when it comes to the budget bill. He said the small committee was formed to help save time.

Here is the breakdown of the P9.52 billion worth of realignments being proposed by the House, as presented by Cayetano on Monday, September 30:

Department and Programs Proposed Additional Funds

Department of Agriculture

– Palay purchase (P3 billion)

– Quick Response Fund (P500 million)

P3.5 billion

Department of Education
– Operation of schools from Kinder to Grade 12 (P650 million)

– Model Day Care Centers nationwide (P150 million)

P800 million

Department of Health 
– National Center for Mental Health (P100 million)

– Quick Response Fund (P100 million)

P200 million
UP-PGH hospital services P500 million
Philippine National Police Camp Development Fund P1 billion
Armed Forces of the Philippines Camp Development Fund P1 billion

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

– National Resource Conservation and Development-Protected Areas and Development Management 

P500 million
Department of Transportation
– Davao International Airport’s operating expenses
P274.95 million
Budgetary Support for GOCC – National Electrification P500 million

Allocation to Local Government Units – Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
– Special allowance for traffic enforcers and field personnel (P200 million)

– Salary increase of 4,000 job order personnel (P300 million)

P500 million
Dangerous Drugs Board – Other Executive Offices
– Maintenance and other operating expenses for community-based rehabilitation centers
P250 million
Philippine Sports Commission
– Preparation and training for 2020 Olympic Games and 10th ASEAN Para Games
P500 million

– Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.