SPEAKER Alan Peter S. Cayetano said Tuesday that the House is considering possible augmentations to the budget for the energy, education, and health sectors.
“Maaring magkaroon talaga ng (It looks like the budget will have) adjustments, but education, health, energy, agriculture ang mukhang titignan (are what we are looking at),” Mr. Cayetano said in chance remarks to reporters.
Mr. Cayetano said the Department of Energy (DoE) might be given more funding to address the problem of unavailable of electricity in some areas.
“I don’t think may dahilan in this modern age na may lugar sa Pilipinas na walang kuryente. (There is no reason in this day and age for some parts of the country not to have electricity) Of course, alam din naman natin minsan napakalaking lugar, dadalawa bahay (We also need to consider that some large areas may have few residents), so yung expense na lalagyan mo ng kuryente yun (which makes it not viable to invest in electrification). But we are talking in general, dapat walang municipality or barangay na di energized (no municipality or barangay should be without power). So ang pondo ata diyan ay P1 billion. So we are asking kung magkano ’to complete it in two or three years (We have a preliminary figure of P1 billion and are trying to find out how much is needed to get it done in two or three years),” he said.
The DoE has a proposed budget of P1.40 billion for 2020. Of this, P82.4 million will be allocated for national and regional energy planning program; P112.5 million for renewable energy development; P32.3 million for energy efficiency and conservation; and P91.7 million for electric power industry development.
He noted that the House is also looking at the budget for the K to 12 program in oder to make senior high school graduates more employable after graduation.
“Tinitignan namin yung DepEd, especially yung K to 12 tracks. Kaya tayo pumayag ng two years, kasi pag graduate, dapat accredited na at yung diploma ng bata ay di lang sa DepEd, kundi pwede na siya sa field na pinili niya yung track (We are also looking at the Department of Education’s programs, especially K to 12. We agreed to an additional two years for high school because we were told that graduates would have the proper credentials to work after graduating from the student’s chosen track),” Mr. Cayetano said.
For 2020, the proposed budget for the K to 12 program is P2.5 billion, lower than the P3.2 billion allocation in 2019.
The health sector will also be considered for budget realignment.
“Sa health, we are looking at the primary healthcare system. Sa dami ng problema sa kalusugan, ano ba ang dapat tutukan at pinaka-effective. Kung di kaya ang Pilipinas, mag-pilot projects tayo,” said Mr. Cayetano.
The Department of Health has a proposed budget of P88.72 billion.
To recall, Mr. Cayetano said earlier that he will support at least P9 billion in additional funding for the procurement of palay, or unmilled rice, to support the market and prop up farmer incomes.
He also backed additional allocations for upgrading military and police camps
The Speaker said that minimal changes in the budget might be discussed on Friday as the House will tackle also lump sum funds.
“Probably three or four minimal changes lang by Friday kapag nagbotohan. Most of the major changes baka sa bicam na. None of these will be in the category of pork or lump sum na paghahatian ng mga kongresista,” said Mr. Cayetano. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras