The Philippines: Bicam approves PHP4.1tr 2020 national budget

  • The bicameral conference committee on Wednesday, December 11, approved the panel report on the proposed PHP4.1tr national budget for 2020.
  • Lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives who are part of the bicam met on 11 Dec 19 to approve the report, after their first public hearing on 29 Nov 19 and several closed-door meetings to “amicably” iron out conflicting provisions, particularly in the budgets of the health, transportation, and public works departments.
  • Senate and the House are expected to ratify the bicam report later in the afternoon, during their respective sessions. House appropriations committee chairperson Isidro Ungab earlier said that the target submission date to President Rodrigo Duterte would be 21 Dec 19.
  • After the bicam submits the report, the President has until the end of 2019 to sign or veto some items in the budget, or else the government would again operate on a reenacted budget.
  • The proposed 2020 budget is 11.8% higher than the PHP3.662tr budget for 2019 and represents 19.4% of the country’s projected gross domestic product for 2020.
  • Under the National Expenditure Program, the proposed 2020 budget would use a cash-based budgeting system, similar to 2019. But it has yet to be known whether the bicam included this system as part of their report.
  • The cash-based budgeting system requires all government agencies to use their budget allocations for a certain year within that same fiscal year, or else any amount left over would revert to the National Treasury.

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