The House of Representatives has started its plenary debates on the proposed P22.4-billion supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, which will be used to fund 26 government projects, including those that involve the rehabilitation of areas devastated by supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan).
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said the House would be able to approve and transmit House Bill 5237, the supplemental budget measure, before the Congress adjourns for its Yuletide break this week.
Belmonte sits as honorary chairperson of the National Unity Party (NUP).
“We can give it earlier, maybe Monday (Dec. 15), Tuesday (Dec. 16) at the latest,” Belmonte said in a recent interview with the media.
Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of the Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (CIBAC) and AKO Bicol Party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe urged the Senate to ensure the approval of the supplemental budget this week to ensure the continued implementation of rehabilitation projects IN “Yolanda”-hit areas and other major infrastructure initiatives of the Aquino administration.
These include, among others, the P1.5 billion Emergency Shelter Assistance Program and another P7.9 billion appropriation for the construction of permanent housing for “Yolanda” victims.
“The programs are good proposals to continue the rehabilitation efforts and in improving towns that were affected,” Tugna said.
Tugna and Batocabe are partylist allies of the NUP under the Coalition for Peace and Development.
Besides rehabilitation projects, the supplemental budget will also fund projects that were completed but the payments for which were stopped because of the Supreme Court decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program and projects funded through the DAP but were either partially implemented or not implemented at all.
Malacanang created and implemented the DAP as a stimulus fund which were sourced from the pooled savings of government agencies. The DAP fund was used to finance projects intended to generate jobs and push economic activities, according to Malacanang.
The Supreme Court, however, ruled in July this year that certain key provisions of the DAP were unconstitutional.
Under HB 5237, the proposed supplemental budget would be sourced from excess target earnings from bond sinking funds, and excess revenues from government financial institutions and government-owned and -controlled corporations, which amounted to P28 billion as certified by the Bureau of Treasury.