On Thursday, the House of Representatives leadership formally asked President Duterte to urgently certify the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) of 5.024 trillion pesos for 2022.
President Lord Allan Velasco and Credit Committee Chairman Eric Go Yap said the House has sent its formal letter of request to President Duterte for the issuance of the urgent certification to expedite approval of the 2022 national budget.
With this certification, Congress waives the three-day rule between second and third reading approvals of a measure.
The presidential spokesperson’s office confirmed that the president’s office received the House’s request and said it was under consideration.
The House is considering approval of third and final reading by September 30 or before the recess in Congress.
At least 34 government agencies and related agencies, commissions, bureaus and bureaus will still defend their budget allocations for 2022 during the plenary.
Congress is on hiatus from October 1 to November 7 as candidates for all national and local positions submit their certificates of nomination.
With the theme “Sustaining the Legacy of Real Change for Future Generations”, the budget of 5.024 billion pesos is equivalent to 22.8% of GDP and is 11.5% higher than this year’s national budget.
Meanwhile, the House postponed closing its plenary deliberation on the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) P2 2 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2022.
The postponement motion was approved by lawmakers after Bayan Muna representative Isagani Zarate said there were still issues to be resolved with the DBM.
Zarate regretted that “they [DBM] continually gave unsatisfactory answers and insisted on the legality of their actions on how the executive department used budget savings and contingent funds.
On the issue of savings, lawmakers learned with the submission of at least six agencies that there were around 57 billion pesos in savings between 2017 and 2020, “but we never knew because they didn’t. have not been published. This is one of the reasons why it is stated in the General Appropriations Act that national economies should always be posted on DBM’s website and reported to Congress, ”said the Davao-based solon.
“As it stands, they are using funds as they see fit without congressional approval, thus encroaching on the power of the congressional stock exchange and violating its mandate,” he added.
Second, Zarate said that DBM’s National Budget Circular 586 and Administrative Ordinance 41 are unconstitutional, even illegal, as they require ministries and agencies to report savings not even in the middle of the year, at the same time as Bayanihan 2 and GAA 2020 are still being implemented.
“The circular and the memo create DAP-type funds that the executive can use wherever it sees fit, making it sort of a barrel of pigs, especially during an election period,” he added.
Zarate noted the unused fund of 10.3 billion pesos which was transferred to the Ministry of Public Works and Roads (DPWH).