Minimal 2023 budget increase could force sacrifice of some programs for agri, Angara says

THE 4% funding increase in the 2023 General Appropriations Act will require the government to set clear spending priorities and possibly sacrifice some spending items to achieve its goal of expanding agriculture, according to the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. The budget increase over 2022 is “a very small increase compared to previous years,” Senator […]

Budget deficit widens in January

THE National Government’s budget deficit widened to P23.4 billion in January, as spending increased due to the release of tax allotments to local government units (LGUs). Data from the Bureau of the Treasury released on Thursday showed the January fiscal gap jumped by 66.3% from the P14.1-billion deficit a year earlier. Month on month, the […]

Next admin urged to make major budget commitment to housing

SOCIALIZED HOUSING needs to be a budget priority for the next government after the current funding emphasis on transportation and public works projects, the head of a social policy institute said. The average share of housing in the national budget between 2016 and 2022 was about 0.3%, Institute for Leadership, Empowerment, and Democracy Executive Director […]

Duterte vetoes three budget items

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has vetoed three minor items in the 2022 budget without funding, according to the Budget department.  “The vetoed items were not crucial,” Budget officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie L. Canda told an online news briefing on Friday in Filipino.  Among the vetoed items is the application of the Agrarian Reform law to state universities and colleges and a program on gender-aware restrooms under the Transportation department, she said.  Mr. Duterte on […]

Transport workers allocated P10 billion for service contracts

FUNDING for the program to support transport workers via a service contracting program was raised to P10 billion from P6 billion in the Senate’s version of the 2022 Budget, though doubts were expressed on whether the Transportation department would be able to disburse the full amount. Under the service contracting program, drivers and operators of public […]

Bill extending validity of 2021 budget passed on 2nd reading

HOUSE LEGISLATORS approved a bill on second reading Monday that would extend the validity of this year’s budget. House Bill 10373 will extend all appropriations under the 2021 General Appropriations Act until Dec. 31, 2022. Completion, inspection, and payment of infrastructure projects and maintenance and operating expenses should also beat that deadline. No individual amendments […]

Senator rejects higher BFAR budget

A senator on Friday thumbed down a plan to raise the budget of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) after it failed to build fish hatcheries according to law.  During a budget hearing on Friday, Senator Cynthia A. Villar told bureau officials to stop asking for additional funding when its performance was below par. The agency wants a P17-billion budget for […]

Expropriation on the table to meet Mindanao Railway launch target

By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter THE DEPARTMENT of Transportation (DoTr) said Thursday that its October 2022 target to achieve partial operations for the China-funded Mindanao Railway Project is still “achievable” despite delays posed by right-of-way (ROW) acquisition, adding that expropriation of land remains an option to expedite the process. In response to a BusinessWorld […]

GCG’s low fund utilization rate questioned at Senate budget hearing 

THE GOVERNANCE Commission for Government-Owned and Controlled Corporations’ (GCG) low fund utilization in 2020 and this year must be solved by yearend, a senator said Monday during the agency’s budget hearing.    Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian cited that GCG has unspent funds of P73 million or 36% of its allocation in 2020, while 46% or P96 million remain in the 2021 budget.   He noted that […]

DBM releases additional P451 million for health workers’ risk allowances

THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) has released an additional P451.3 million for the special risk allowances (SRA) of health workers assigned to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wards. The DBM said in a statement Wednesday that P407.08 million was sourced from the contingent fund of the national budget, while the remaining P44.23 million was […]

House bill seeks to abolish Budget procurement arm

A BILL that seeks to abolish the Budget department’s Procurement Service, which the Senate is investigating for contracts that allegedly disadvantaged the government, has been filed at the House of Representatives. Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus B. Rodriguez filed House Bill 10222, which will transfer the procurement of common-use supplies to agencies. The congressman […]

Dar batting for control of irrigation agency   

THE NATIONAL Irrigation Administration (NIA) needs to be under the control of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in order to expand irrigation coverage.    “Meron kaming proposal na kung puwede, kung mamarapatin po ng mahal na Pangulo, ay ilipat na sa DA itong NIA (We have a proposal, which I hope the President approves, to transfer NIA to the DA) because water is agriculture. Agriculture is life,” Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar said in a television appearance Tuesday.    Mr. Dar said the Philippines has […]