Lawmaker: No ‘PDAF-like’ allocation under Aquino’s 2015 budget

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MEMBERS of the House of Representatives vowed Tuesday to block schemes similar to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) or the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), as Congress prepares to tackle the proposed P2.606-trillion 2015 national budget.

House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II said the 2015 General Appropriations Bill will not contain "pork barrel-like" allotment similar to what his fellow lawmakers did when they decided to scrap the P25.24-billion PDAF allotment under this year's P2.265 trillion national budget.

"No pork barrel, no budget insertions and DAP-like appropriations," he said, referring to PDAF and the government's economic stimulus program, which were declared separately as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. will submit on Wednesday afternoon the proposed 2015 national budget at the House and the committee on appropriations will immediately start its deliberations next week.

The filing of the budget bill was mentioned in Monday's fifth State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Aquino III.

Davao Representative Isidro Ungab, committee on appropriations chairperson, assured the timely passage of the national budget.

"We intend to pass the budget on time so that the National Government will have an approved budget on the first day of 2015," Ungab said.

House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. reiterated his commitment for Congress' timely approval of the national budget despite DAP controversies and three separate impeachment complaints filed against President Aquino.

Belmonte vowed to pass the new budget by December.

"We will try to pass it on time. We are committed to ensure that the country's economic upward trajectory will continue. Providing basic services to the needy is a matter of the utmost importance," the Speaker said.

The proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for next year is 15 percent higher than this year's P2.265 trillion budget.

Belmonte said that based on Malacanang's plan, key expenditures in the national budget were for social protection and social services; job generation and economic expansion; climate change adaptation and mitigation, enabling environment for inclusive development.

For social protection, the government is proposing to increase the allocation for the conditional cash transfer program from P62.6-billion to P78-billion to cover the increase in beneficiaries from 4.3 million households to five million households.

Belmonte said that there will be an increase on the budget for the National Health Insurance Program from P35.3-billion to P37.2-billion, and for educational facilities from P44.6 billion to P52.7 billion.

In a bid to further promote job generation, the government will proposed an increase in the budget for national roads and bridges from P130.4-billion to P186.6-billion; and for tourism infrastructure development from P14.7-billion to P20-billion.

In the implementation of climate change adaptation and mitigation, the national government proposes an increase in the allocation for flood control and drainage projects from P34.8-billion to P38.6-billion. (Sunnex)

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