House approves P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget

Budget gets House OK in record time

MANILA (UPDATE) —The House of Representatives on Friday approved the proposed P4.1 trillion 2020 national budget bill on its third and final reading.

After President Rodrigo Duterte submitted the spending plan to Congress just last month and certified House Bill 4228 as urgent on Thursday, legislators finished the second and the third readings on the same day, waiving the 3-day wait period between votes on the two readings.

Lawmakers who voted yes numbered 257, while there were 6 nays. No one abstained.

The House committee on rules said the speed at which the national budget was approved at this level is unprecedented. Duterte submitted the spending plan to Congress last month.

Historically, budget bills are passed not earlier than October. This time, it took only 20 working days within a period of 30 days to get the job done in mid-September.

The 16th Congress passed the 2016 budget on October 9, 2015, during President Benigno Aquino III’s administration. Under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the 13th Congress green-lit the budget on October 13, 2006.

The biggest chunk of the budget went to the Department of Education, which stands to receive P673 billion, which is expected to fund state schools, among others.

The second highest appropriation went to the the Department of Public Works and Highways (P534.3 billion), followed by the departments of the interior and local government (P238 billion), social welfare and development (P195 billion), and national defense (P189 billion).

Duterte on Thursday certified urgent House Bill 4228 or the proposed 2020 national budget and called for its immediate passage to “maintain continuous government operations.”

The government operated on a reenacted budget from January this year until the 2019 budget was signed last April, which slowed gross domestic product growth in the first half.

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