MALACAÑANG expressed hope on Friday that lawmakers will restore the original proposed budget of three government agencies that were given a meager P1,000 budget for 2018 by the House of Representatives.
Communications Assistant Secretary Kristian Ablan was referring to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), and Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
"Just to put things in the perspective, the reduction of the P1,000 is only at the earlier stages of our budget process," he said in a press conference.
"We're only in September right now, and we're at the level of the House of Representatives. This budget, although cut, will still have to be sent to the Senate for further discussion and deliberations," he added.
The executive department requested a Fiscal Year 2018 budget of P623.38 million for CHR, P1.132 billion for NCIP, and P365 million for ERC but House lawmakers reduced the budget to P1,000 each.
On September 13, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Palace would not interfere in House's decision as part of "checks and balances of our system of government."
Ablan said the budget of the three agencies was reduced because the House lawmakers simply wanted them "to submit the documents and to justify their budget.”
Ablan said there was still "a long way to go" since Senate will conduct its own budget deliberations and decide how much amount will be allocated for the three agencies.
He stressed that the final budget would be determined by the bicameral conference committee composed by members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
"In fact, after the Senate, since the version of the Senate and the House may not always be the same, there will still be bicameral conference committee," Ablan said.
"This is still just at the start of the whole budgetary process. It will still go to the Senate and if you already heard comments from our senators that they will restore the budget of the CHR. It's a totally legislative matter that the Palace will respect,' he added. (SunStar Philippines)