The House of Representatives has approved the Aquino administration’s national budget proposal for 2012 without a controversial provision impounding the funding for unfilled positions in the Judiciary, Congress, the Ombudsman’s office and the Commissions of Elections, civil service and Audit.
This after the lower house ratified the bicameral conference committee report reconciling the differing provisions of the House and Senate versions of the budget bill.
The bicameral report’s key provisions include:
- An increase of 351 million pesos for the House of Representatives to provide for the actual requirements for Personal Services which were not provided for under the National Expenditure Program as well as Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses;
- An increase of 96.69 million pesos for the Senate of the Philippines for the operational requirements of the 5th Global Conference of the Global Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC); to bring the budget of the oversight committees to the FY 2011 level; and for the repair/construction of committee rooms and executive conference rooms;
- An increase of 500 million pesos for the Department of Agriculture-Office of the Secretary as restoration of the House reduction in the appropriations for irrigation projects;
- An amount of 100 million pesos for the initial operating requirements of the newly-created Governance Commission for GOCCs;
- An increase of 36 million pesos for the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police for the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, to be sourced from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
- An increase of 30 million pesos for the Department of National Defense-Philippine Navy for the payment of real estate in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan that is occupied by the Philippine Navy, and another 25 million pesos for the General Headquarters for the construction/repair/rehabilitation of PMA buildings.
- Reduction of 697.858 million pesos from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund;
- Reduction of administrative costs of 138.3 million pesos from the PAMANA Fund;
- Reduction of 224 million pesos from the Department of Health-Office of the Secretary representing the overstatement of vaccines for senior citizens;
- Reduction of 100 million pesos from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency;
- Reduction of 91 million pesos from the Department of Labor and Employment-Office of the Secretary, representing operational requirement of Filipino Workers Resource Centers since this could be provided by the OWWA.
Major realignments consist of the following:
- Realignment of 1 billion pesos in the Department of Education from Capital Outlays-School Buildings to MOOE of the Kindergarten Program and additional hiring of teachers;
- Realignment of 1.9 billion pesos to form a PAMANA Fund, to be sourced from appropriations for the same in several agencies, namely, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Office of the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Office of the Secretary; and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP);
- Realignment of 700 million pesos from the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Office of the Secretary to the Local Water Utilities Administration for potable water supply for Level III Water Systems;
- Realignment within the Judiciary of 440.6 million pesos, particularly from lump sums for total unfilled positions to unfilled positions for unorganized courts.
Some of the Amendments on the Special Provisions include the following:
1) Offices with Fiscal Autonomy (Congress, Judiciary, Ombudsman, COMELEC, CSC, COA)
a) Providing that
i. the heads of the said offices are authorized to augment any item of appropriation of its agency from its savings;
ii. their budget shall be automatically and regularly released; and
iii. the submission of a quarterly report on the utilization of funds.
2) Department of Agriculture – OSEC; Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development; DOST – Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development; DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development; Commission on Higher Education; and E-Government Fund.
a) Earmarking portion of research and development fund for the five (5) innovation clusters, namely:
i. Algae Research and Commercialization;
ii. Disaster Science and Management;
iii. ICT for Cloud Computing and Software as a Service;
iv. Responsible Mining Technologies; and
v. Precision Farming and Smart Agriculture.
3) Department of Foreign Affairs – Office of the Secretary
a) Provides that subject to the approval of the President, the DFA secretary shall rationalize the embassy/consular offices, taking into consideration in the rationalization the three (3) pillars of foreign policy.
4) Department of Health – Office of the Secretary
a) Providing that the Philhealth’s administrative cost should not exceed 10% of the premium contribution.
b) Stating that all government health care providers nationwide are automatically considered as Philhealth accredited.
c) Immunization of senior citizens was expanded to include children.
5) Department of the Interior and Local Government – Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.
a) Providing that appropriations for MOOE for the district, city and municipal fire stations and jails shall be distributed within five (5) days from receipt of the allocation by the bureau’s regional offices.
6) Department of the Interior and Local Government – Philippine National Police
a) Providing that the funds allotted for the MOOE of the PNP National Headquarters, directorates, national support units and internal affairs service shall be directly released to the said offices, except for centrally-managed items (CMIs), of which the release shall be made to the PNP central office, indicating the regional and/or implementing units to which these CMIs are to be released.
7) Department of National Defense – Armed Forces of the Philippines
a) Stating that no amount appropriated for PS shall be released or disbursed unless such release or disbursement is done through the LBP and in areas without LBP branches, through other banks with ATM facilities, and any bank charges imposed shall be charged to DND.
8) PAMANA Fund
a) New provisions on the following:
i. Administrative Cost including monitoring expenses shall be charged against the budget of the implementing agency;
ii. The OPAPP is mandated to monitor the implementation of the PAMANA fund by the DSWD, DAR and DILG.
9) National Power Corporation
a) Providing augmentation beyond approved corporate operating budget provided that it shall be charged against actual receipts.
On General Provisions:
1) Government Indebtedness and Guaranty – stating that the total indebtedness of the NG and any of its agencies, offices, and GOCCs which carry the sovereign guaranty of the Republic of the Philippines shall not exceed 60% of the latest GDP.
2) Creation of a Joint Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures – providing that the Senate and House of Representatives shall constitute a Joint Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures which shall primarily monitor that government funds are spent in accordance with the law.
3) Transparency in Infrastructure Projects which requires the posting in the respective websites of all implementing agencies of the government:
a) project title and detailed description, including the nature and location of the project;
b) detailed estimates in arriving at the approved budget for the contract;
c) the winning contractor and the detailed estimates of the bid as awarded; and
d) 30 days from the issuance of the certificate of completion, a detailed actual cost of the project and variation orders issued.
In keeping with the constitutional mandate on resource appropriation, the Department of Education gets the biggest slice of P238.8 billion or 15.2% higher than the current budget of P207.3 billion, at second is the DPWH at P125.5-billion, followed by the Dept. of National Defense with P107.9 billion, then the DILG with
P101.4 billion and the Department of Agriculture with P54.1 billion,
among other agencies.
Social Services will get the bulk of the spending pie with P575.8 billion or 31.7% of the entire GAA. Economic Services is at second with P438.9 billion (24.2% of GAA) which shows the largest growth of 21.3%. Debt service comes at third with P356.1 billion (the debt burden is three (3) percentage points lower than 2011); General
Public Service P332,1 billion and Defense at P113.1 billion.
Minority Leader Edcel lagman cast a dissenting vote, saying, “ Notwithstanding the full recognition of the fiscal autonomy of the Supreme Court and constitutional bodies with the return to said agencies of their respective funding for unfilled positions with only a reportorial requirement prescribed, and the grant of P5,000,000.00 for the publication of the Philippine Collegian, the students’ newspaper of the University of the Philippines, I nonetheless cast a dissenting vote because the appropriations for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) are inordinately overstated and excessively funded, which budgets could have been reduced to augment the appropriations for education, SUCs, health and infrastructure.”