Philippines: Budget bill recalled due to House members’ PHP90bn requests

  • The House leadership has been flooded with requests from lawmakers seeking PHP70bn to PHP90bn in public works funding for their districts that had either been slashed during preparation or vetoed from the 2019 budget, according to the chair of the House appropriations panel.
  • The requests and complaints by the House members were largely to blame for last week’s unexpected recall of the proposed PHP4.1tr budget for 2020, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab confirmed to reporters on 3 Sep 19.
  • It was Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. who moved for the withdrawal of the 2020 general appropriations bill (GAB) during the 28 Aug 19 session with the intent of making alterations.
  • Ungab and Villafuerte, after a meeting with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on 2 Sep 19, came to an agreement to send the spending bill back to the appropriations committee this week, though it wasn’t clear if amendments would still be allowed in the final copy.
  • The House leadership is targeting approval of the 2020 budget bill by the first week of Oct 19 to avoid a repeat of 2018’s month long delay arising from accusations and counter-accusations of pork insertions in the spending bill.

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