THE House of Representatives on Wednesday night passed on second reading the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
House Bill 8169, or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), was approved, via voice voting, after 11 session days of deliberation amid a target to have it passed on third reading before the legislature adjourns on Oct. 12.
The House on Wednesday also constituted the “Small Committee” to receive and resolve amendments to the GAB. Members have until Oct. 9 to submit their proposed amendments.
“Consistent with parliamentary precedence, we propose the creation of a Small Committee to receive and resolve amendments to House Bill 8169, or the Fiscal Year 2019 General Appropriations Bill,” Majority Leader Rolando G. Andaya, Jr. of the first district of Camarines Sur moved on Wednesday. The motion was carried.
The panel includes Mr. Andaya, Minority Leader Danilo E. Suarez of the third district of Quezon, Maria Carmen S. Zamora of the first district of Compostela Valley, Federico S. Sandoval II of Malabon, Corazon N. Nuñez-Malanyaon of the first district of Davao Oriental, Edcel C. Lagman of the first district of Albay and COOP NATCCO Rep. Anthony M. Bravo.
The P3.757 trillion budget is slightly less than the obligation-based 2018 budget of P3.767 billion, but comparing both budgets like-for-like under the new cash-based system it is 13% higher than 2018’s P3.324 billion.
The biggest portion of the proposed 2019 budget goes to education with P659.3 billion, up 12.3% from 2018.
Some P528.8 billion will go to the Department of Education; P65.2 billion to State Universities and Colleges; P50.5 billion for the Commission on Higher Education; and P14.8 billion to the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The Departments of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Interior and Local Government (DILG) have been allocated P555.7 billion and P225.6-billion, respectively.
The DPWH’s budget for 2019 is up 25.8% while DILG’s allocation rises 30.9%.
Rounding out the agencies with the most appropriations are the Department of National Defense (DND) at P183.4 billion, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at P173.3 billion, the Department of Transportation (DoTr) at P141.4 billion, the Department of Health (DoH) at P141.2 billion and the Department of Agriculture (DA) at P76.1 billion.
The Senate is currently holding committee-level budget hearings for the various departments and attached agencies. — Charmaine A. Tadalan