MANILA — The congressional bicameral conference committee on Friday approved the reconciled version of the proposed PHP3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
The bicameral panel, under the leadership of Senate finance committee chair Loren Legarda and House of Representatives appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr., was able to reconcile conflicting provisions in the Senate and House versions of the spending bill.
Legarda described the 2019 national budget as “inclusive, pro-poor, and pro-people”, and is a “product of hard work and discernment.”
“Finally, we are honored to present a version of the budget that is pro-poor, pro-development, pro-inclusive and sustainable development, and pro-Filipino,” she said.
Legarda noted that all Senate amendments, which are all “institutional in nature”, were adopted in the bicam report.
“The chair of the House committee agreed to most, if not all of the amendments, so we share this as our common institutional amendments,” she added.
According to Legarda, these amendments include the restoration of the funding for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, as well as the Human Resource for Health Development amounting to more than PHP20 billion; additional allowance for teachers on World Teacher’s Day; the purchase of medicines for veterans; the continuation of basic social economic services; government internship programs; scholarship programs; creation of a new infantry division in Mindanao; a 911 command center for the Philippine National Police; School-Based Feeding Program, computerization program and textbooks and other instructional materials.
Also included in the budget are funds for the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the proposed rice tariffication.