P700-M budget hike in House allocation sought-A A +A
Thursday, September 27, 2012
MANILA -- Minority Leader Danilo Suarez is seeking an additional P700-million budget for the House of Representatives to accommodate additional lawmakers in the 16th Congress.
Suarez said the proposal to increase the P5.8-billion allocation to P6.5 billion was submitted to the small committee tasked to fine-tune provisions in the P2.006-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) earlier approved on second reading.
"The proposed budget for the House of Representatives is good for 250 members. After the 2013 elections, I think members could reach 290 if we include the new districts," he said.
Aside from the House allocation, the opposition bloc is also proposing additional budgets for the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Dangerous Drug Board (DDB), Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
The Minority Leader said the additional funds can be sourced from the P22.4 billion lump sum fund identified as the Priority Social and Economic Project Fund.
"(PDEA and DDB) are combating a P300-billion criminal syndicate. Are we kidding here when we're proposing a budget so low for these two agencies?" Suarez said.
Pagasa, meanwhile, needs an additional P750 million for its weather and flood forecasting and geophysical and astronomical services, Suarez said, as only P245 million was earlier proposed by the Budget department.
The opposition bloc will also push for a P700-million NTC budget, an allocation they said was enough to police telecommunication companies.
The House of Representatives is eyeing to pass the budget bill on third and final reading on October 15. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)