MANILA — The leadership of the House of Representatives on Wednesday admitted that they have met with Budget Sec. Butch Abad to talk about the P23.34 Billion supplementary budget to pay the completed projects of the government.
In a chance interview, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said that the supplemental budget has nothing to do with the 2015 General Appropriations Act.
“Well, let me give you an example, some DAP [Disbursement Acceleration Program] projects were already completed and others were about to be completed. So that’s among those that have been included,” Belmonte told reporters.
He explained that this additional budget needs to pass the normal course, saying that “it will not be railroaded but the process could be faster.”
The speaker denied allegations of Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares that the additional budget is intended for Christmas presents to some politicians.
According to Belmonte, they need to pay contractors on completed government projects which were funded by DAP. Unfortunately, the SC stops DAP after they declared it unconstitutional and the payment for the government projects were left hanging.
Meanwhile, he insists that the House version of 2015 budget is pork-free.
He said that “a lot of projects of congressmen were listed and itemized. What the Supreme Court said in their decision against PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] “if lump sum without any indication what they are going to be used for and the Supreme Court itself said there’s absolutely nothing wrong, it is the function and duty of Congress to itemize projects and as you can see from our former two volume budget, we have now a six volume budget.”
“Well, in fact I hope I will be able to, it is not with us yet, I hope to be able to file it on Monday and certainly hope to approve it before we go on Christmas break,” Belmonte clarified.
Asked by reporters if it will be marked urgent by the executive, Belmonte said he has no idea but “they will look at it as urgent from the point of view of common sense.”