THE Senate finance committee is set to sponsor on Monday the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, in time for its target enactment in mid-December.
Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, who heads the panel, is working to avoid a repeat of the almost four-month delay in the signing of the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“The experience has only underscored that for us to maintain our country’s momentum and upward trajectory, we can afford no more delays, especially when public spending can account for up to 20% of the entire economy,” Mr. Angara said in a statement yesterday.
He said the chamber is on track to submit the annual spending plan to President Rodrigo R. Duterte “by mid-December or the third week at the latest.”
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said last week the Senate might debate on the budget measure for two weeks before it starts reconciling its version with the House of Representatives version in a bicameral conference committee on Nov. 25 to 30.
Under a report approved by the finance committee, the lion’s share of the budget will go to the education sector — P525.88 billion to the Education department and P67.31 to state universities and colleges.
Among the agencies that will receive the highest appropriations are the Public Works department with P529.77 billion; Interior and Local Government department with P237.99 billion; Defense department with P191.34 billion; Social Welfare department with P158.41 billion; and Transportation department with P126.86 billion.
The smallest share will go to the Joint Legislative-Executive Council (P4.36 million); newly created Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (P613 million); Office of the Vice President (P664 million); and the Commission on Human Rights (P863 million).
The House gave P519.65 billion to the Education department and P65.36 billion to state universities. The bill allotted P529.75 billion to the Public Works department, P237.22 billion to the Interior and Local Government department, P189.65 billion to the Defense department, P158.35 billion to the Social Welfare department and P146.04 billion to the Transportation department.
The House approved its version of the 2020 budget bill on final reading on Sept. 20. The bill was certified as urgent by Mr. Duterte, allowing the chamber to do away with the required three-day interval between second- and third-reading approval. — Charmaine A. Tadalan