Press Release
November 29, 2011

Senate approves bicam report on 2012 budget

The Senate approved today the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed 2012 General Appropriations Bill, which called for a total new appropriations amounting to P1,245-trillion, the same level as proposed by Malacanang.

In a speech delivered during plenary session, Senate Finance Committee chair Senator Franklin Drilon said that the bicameral conference committee worked through the weekend to reconciled the disagreeing provisions of the appropriations bill, now amounting to P1,245,193,270,000.

Among the major amendments in the bicam report ratified by the Senate were the following:

  • An increase of 351 million pesos for the House of Representatives to provide for the actual requirements for Personal Services which were not provided for under the National Expenditure Program as well as Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses;

  • An increase of 96.69 million pesos for the Senate of the Philippines for the operational requirements of the 5th Global Conference of the Global Parliamentarians Against Corruption (GOPAC); to bring the budget of the oversight committees to the FY 2011 level; and for the repair/construction of committee rooms and executive conference rooms;

  • An increase of 500 million pesos for the Department of Agriculture-Office of the Secretary as restoration of the House reduction in the appropriations for irrigation projects;

  • An amount of 100 million pesos for the initial operating requirements of the newly-created Governance Commission for Government Owned and Controlled Corporations (GOCCs);

  • An increase of 36 million pesos for the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police for the Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Force, to be sourced from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

  • An increase of 30 million pesos for the Department of National Defense-Philippine Navy for the payment of real estate in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan that is occupied by the Philippine Navy, and another 25 million pesos for the General Headquarters for the construction, repair and rehabilitation of The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) buildings.

"After having reconciled the most contentious provision in the budget -the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefit Fund (MPBF)--the bicameral conference committee has finally reached an agreement to ratify the report on the floor," Drilon said in an interview with reporters. The House earlier cut the MBPF by 5.025 billion pesos allocated for unfilled positions in the Judiciary and other constitutional agencies.

The Senate, for its part, adopted the House version, but insisted on including a provision which requires government agencies involved to submit a report to Congress and Malacañang. "This was the only portion in the bill that both Houses could not agree upon and I am glad that we have finally reached a decision," Drilon said.

"We have also agreed that, for the sake of transparency, the judiciary, Congress and all other constitutional offices must submit to the office of the President a quarterly financial report," Drilon added.

Drilon also reported the other major reductions in appropriations bill:

  • Reduction of 697.858 million pesos from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund;

  • Reduction of administrative costs of 138.3 million pesos from the PAMANA Fund;

  • Reduction of 224 million pesos from the Department of Health-Office of the Secretary representing the overstatement of vaccines for senior citizens;

  • Reduction of 100 million pesos from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency;

  • Reduction of 91 million pesos from the Department of Labor and Employment-Office of the Secretary, representing operational requirement of Filipino Workers Resource Centers since this could be provided by the OWWA. According to Drilon, major realignments in the bicameral report include the realignment of P1 billion in the Department of Education from Capital Outlays-School Buildings to MOOE of the Kindergarten Program and additional hiring of teachers; the realignment of P1.9 billion to form a PAMANA Fund, to be sourced from appropriations for the same in several agencies, namely, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Office of the Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-Office of the Secretary; and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP); the realignment of 700 million pesos from the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Office of the Secretary to the Local Water Utilities Administration for potable water supply for Level III Water Systems and the realignment within the Judiciary of 440.6 million pesos, particularly from lump sums for total unfilled positions to unfilled positions for unorganized courts.

"Today we signed the bicameral committee report. We should be able to have it ratified in both Houses of Congress today and start printing the general appropriations bill and send it to the President by next week," Drilon said, adding, "We are confident that on or before December 15, the President should be able to finish reviewing the budget and sign the general appropriations bill.

Drilon said he expected the proposed bill to be ready for the President's signature by next week. This will be the second year that the budget will be enacted into law in time for the coming fiscal year, he added. He said the proposed 2012 budget was a "results-focused budget that is decidedly biased for the poor," adding that the money measure was aimed at fulfilling the Aquino administration's priorities in promoting social services, supporting economic growth and reducing poverty. Co-chaired by Drilon and Cavite Representative Joseph Abaya Jr., members of the Bicameral Conference Committee include Senators Ralph Recto, Edgardo Angara, Allan Peter Cayetano, and Representatives Neptali Gonzales II, Janette Garin, Rodolfo Farinas, Jocelyn Limkaichong, Rolando Andaya Jr., Edgard San uis, Anna Bondoc, Narciso Bravo, Edcel Lagman, Carlos Padilla and Elmer Panotes.

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