SENATOR Panfilo M. Lacson is planning to propose realignments to the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DoTr), and the Department of Education (DepEd) to increase funding for three landmark laws.

The Senate on Wednesday evening concluded plenary debates on the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 and is set to introduce amendments beginning Monday, in time for possible final approval on Wednesday.

“Monday, amendments ‘yan ‘yung committee and individual and probably, sana, hopefully by Wednesday ma-approve on second and third reading kasi certified as urgent naman (Monday is the period for amendments… we hope by Wednesday to approve on second and third reading because the bills are certified as urgent,” Mr. Lacson told reporters in a briefing Thursday.

Mr. Lacson cited the lack of appropriations to implement the Universal Health Care Act, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act and the Philippine Identification System Act, or Republic Acts 11223, 10937 and 11055, respectively.

He said these could be remedied by slashing the budget of the three departments, which will receive the highest appropriations in the 2020 spending plan, despite a record of underspending.

“We see sa deliberations ang dami-daming unused appropriations and the top three na agencies na malalaki ‘yung unused appropriations, the usual — DPWH, DepEd, DoTr (In deliberations we found that the top three departments for unused appropriations are the usual — DPWH, DepEd, DoTr)” Mr. Lacson, who is also vice chairman of the Finance committee, said.

Napapag-usapan naming mga Senador na may mga agencies na kailangan talagang kaltasan para ilipat dun sa mga mas mahahalaga na dapat pagkagastusan ng gobyerno (We discussed which agencies could stand to have their budgets cut so more valuable programs can be funded.)”

In its latest version, the 2020 budget bill passed by the Senate provided P529.771 billion to the DPWH; P126.86 billion to the DoTr, and P126.86 billion for DepEd. — Charmaine A. Tadalan