JULY 28, 2013

NR # 3178C

Hearings on proposed 2014 national budget of P2.268T may start Aug.7
The Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations expressed hope that Congress can start by August 7, hearings on the proposed P2.268 trillion national budget for 2014 after a full organization of the panel. “We are still in the process of organizing the vice-chairmen and members of the Committee on Appropriations, after which we will come up with the budget calendar. We hope to start the budget hearings by August 7,” said Rep. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City). He said the appropriations committee will have 20 vice chairmen, and if the House will follow the rules of the previous Congress, the panel will have more than 100 members. “The vice chairmen are mostly incumbents and returning congressmen who used to be vice-chairs of the appropriations committee,” Ungab said. So far, 18 solons have been named vice chairpersons of the panel. They are Reps. Joaquin Carlos Rahman Nava, Maria Zenaida Angping, Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado, Rolando Andaya, Jr., Joseph Gilbert Violago, Josephine Veronique Lacson-Noel, Thelma Almario, Emil Ong, Dakila Carlo Cua, Mercedez Alvarez, Ben Evardone, Eric Singson, Ma. Carmen Zamora, Bai Sandra Sema, Gabriel Luis Quisumbing, Celso Lobregat, Pryde Henry Teves and Leopoldo Bataoil. “Two more vice chairmen will be named to complete the 20,” Ungab said. Ungab said the first to present during the budget hearings will be the cabinet level inter-agency committee, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC). The DBCC is composed of the Secretary of Budget and Management (DBM), as chairman; the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretariat, as co-chairman; and the Executive Secretary, Secretary of Finance and the Governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines, as members. Based on the NEDA website, the DBCC recommends to the President the following: Level of annual government expenditures and the ceiling of government spending for economic and social development, national defense, and government debt service; Proper allocation of expenditures for each development activity between current operating expenditures and capital outlays; and; amount set to be allocated for capital outlays broken down into the various capital or infrastructure projects.

In light of recent controversies surrounding some government agencies involving alleged corruption and peace and order issues among others, Ungab said, “Perhaps this is also the best time to look further into the details of the budget.” “Every peso paid out of the Treasury must be well accounted for. At the same time the budget instrument is the summary of how the government intends to govern in order to reach its goals. We must carefully scrutinize the budget to make sure every item contributes to inclusive growth and robust progress, most especially that the Philippines is now the fastest growing economy in Asia. Every peso paid out of the treasury should be well accounted for, including the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF),” said Ungab. Last week, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad turned over to Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. and Ungab the National Expenditure Program for FY 2014—a blueprint of the Aquino Administration’s development agenda to sustain the country’s economic expansion and advance rapid, inclusive growth. The proposed P2.268-trillion National Budget for 2014, which is 13.1 percent higher than this year’s P2.006-trillion program, accounts for key expenditure requirements for social development and inclusive growth initiatives under the Aquino administration according to Abad. (30) rbb