No ‘strongly objectionable’ items in 2020 budget: DBM

A Department of Budget and Management (DBM) official on Wednesday said they see no "strongly objectionable" items that are included in the recently-signed PHP4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

"Based on the review by the DBM, we didn't find any item of appropriation or provision or proviso that is strongly objectionable vis-A�-vis existing laws and policies," DBM director Ryan Lita told Palace reporters when asked if 2020 budget is deemed constitutional.

"There's nothing that cannot be addressed by the conditional implementation or general observation," he added.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed Republic Act 11465 or the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA) sans any vetoed provisions.

The PHP4.1-trillion national budget is 9 percent higher than 2019's PHP3.76 trillion national budget.

In his budget message, the President has imposed the "conditional implementation" of various items in the 2020 national budget spending to ensure the efficient use of public funds.

Those under conditional implementation are procurement, foreign travels of public workers, Last Mile Schools program, resettlement of families affected by infrastructure projects, government subsidies, feeding programs, services program, funding for foreign-assisted projects, quick response fund, special funds, and funds for Marawi and quake-hit areas.

Lita said the DBM recommended the implementation of several budget provisions with conditions to ensure that these will be "consistent with existing laws and policies."

"Well, the DBM, in the exercise of its function, needs to ensure that the release of funds is in accordance with laws and policies so the guidelines [need] to be detailed in the conditional implementation," he said.

"It addresses some issues that [need] to be clarified so in effect, it prevents the release of funds to be questionable," he added.

No need to revise budget

The signing of the 2020 budget came in the wake of Senator Panfilo Lacson's allegation that House lawmakers made last-minute insertions.

Lacson earlier claimed that this year's budget contains around 1,253 budget items amounting to PHP83.219 billion which serve as congressmen's source of their list of 742 projects worth PHP16.342 billion.

The senator said the provinces that received the biggest share of the alleged insertions are Albay (PHP670 million), Cavite (PHP580 million), Sorsogon (PHP570 million), Batangas (PHP502 million), Bulacan (PHP440 million), Pangasinan (PHP420 million), and Cebu (PHP410 million).

Despite Lacson's claim, DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo said the President's signing of the 2020 GAA merits the uselessness to change the budget plan.

I guess we have to look into it and we will know if there's a value for that, said Toledo, who was also present at the press conference.

(But) given the fact that it's already signed by the President, there's no value for that to change... I don't think we can do that now because it's already signed by the President, he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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