STORY OF THE DAY


SEC. PANELO: P75-B ALLEGED BUDGET INSERTION PRESENTED DURING CABINET MEETING MONTHS AGO



Maintaining that the executive department did not make insertions in the 2019 National Budget, Palace Spokesman Secretary Salvador Panelo, the ₱75 billion additional budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) was actually presented during their Cabinet Meeting 'four months ago'.

This comes after the Senate on Monday during the resumption of budget deliberations decided to remove the ₱75 billion alleged budget 'insertion' for the DPWH after Secretary Mark Villar admitted that he did not know about the additional budget supposedly inserted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

However, Panelo believes that Villar was just misquoted, attesting that Villar was informed as he was there during the Cabinet meeting when it was presented.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno also disputed this, claiming that Villar even signed to acknowledged the additional budget.

Earlier, Villar claimed that he had no prior knowledge about the additional budget not until he saw the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

He said they initially submitted P480-billion ceiling budget proposal and only discovered the ₱75 billion peso supposed insertion upon seeing the NEP.

Diokno had been contending that the budget is not an “insertion” but an “augmentation” which is part of their budget preparation to boost infrastructure spending from 5% to 7% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The Budget Secretary has been calling to retain the additional budget noting that its removal will result to job losses and further increase poverty.

Now that the supposed inserted budget has been deleted, for Panelo, this will not affect the infrastructure projects of the government as they can request for supplemental budget if needed.

The problem – the 2019 National Budget has yet to be passed as of the moment.

The Palace spokesman further expressed optimism that the 2019 budget will soon be passed and that the conflict between the departments will be resolved.

The Senate is eyeing to pass the 2019 National Budget next week as it holds marathon deliberations since it resumed sessions on Monday.