The House of Representatives is looking into realigning some amounts in the proposed 2023 budget to provide allocation to laws and programs that got zero funding, a leader of the chamber said on Tuesday.
The realignment is also aimed at augmenting the budget of programs that need additional funds to be effectively implemented, House appropriations committee vice chairperson Marikina Representative Stella Quimbo said.
"One would be unfunded laws such as the increase in social pension of indigent senior citizens and the funding for the Philippine Creatives Industry Development Act. Then, the important programs with zero budget such as the Cancer Assistance worth P529 million and the special education," Quimbo said during the Ugnayan sa Batasan news forum.
"Then those important programs which do not have zero but deficient budgets namely basic education facilities such as classrooms. Then there are the constitutional commissions since they have fiscal autonomy, they did not have diminution but they are arguing na baka dapat pagbigyan sila. Those are the four categories of need," she added.
The proposed budget is expected to be approved on second reading by the end of the week.
Other programs with zero budget are the P66.2 million for the P100,000 benefit of each 662 Filipino centenarians or those aged 100 and above; the personnel services of state-run broadcasting network PTV-4; and the public utility vehicle modernization program.
Quimbo, however, could not say if Congress will reduce the P650 million confidential fund of the Office of the Vice President (OVP)Sara Duterte and the Department of Education (DepEd) which Duterte also heads.
Earlier, Duterte said she will defer to Congress' decision on the said allocation.
Of the 650 million confidential fund, P500 million were lodged under the OVP while the P150 million is under the DepEd.
"Those are being deliberated, but again, we have to go back to the purpose of the confidential fund which she (Duterte) explained is for addressing any disruption in learning," Quimbo said.
"But rest assured those funds will be discussed upon," she added.—LDF, GMA News