Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370


                                                            LAGMAN: APPROPRIATIONS BILL

                                                             A COPYCAT OF NOY’S BUDGET


          The General Appropriations Bill (GAB) which will be submitted to a vote on third reading is the handiwork of Malacanang, and not the output of the House of Representatives.

         The GAB is a virtual copycat of the President’s National Expenditure Program (NEP) with no substantial amendments adopted from the submissions of House members, except the special provisions on the itemization of the P21-billion Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and the creation of an oversight committee on the CCT as endorsed by the Minority.

         Whatever changes effected in budgetary allocations were at the instance of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) through a series of errata.

         Unless the Majority in the House would realize that they have abdicated the Congressional power of independently appropriating the national budget, the tyranny of numbers will pass the GAB on third reading even as the Majority will preside upon a self-derogation of the legislative authority over the public purse.







        After withdrawing their threat to excommunicate RH advocates, including President Benigno Aquino III, some bishops are reportedly threatening to risk being jailed in a renewed offensive against the RH bill.

         Bishops and lay leaders see phantom jailers when there are none.

         No one will be jailed for opposing the RH bill in good faith and promoting Catholic dogma as an antidote to contraceptives and modern family planning. Instructive debates and constructive criticisms are material to legislation.

         The central agenda of the RH bill is freedom of informed choice and there will neither be reward nor compulsion for being an acceptor of family planning.

         Option is the rule on whether or not couples and women would adopt a particular family planning method of their choice.

         The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has unfortunately reiterated its objection to a group or collective dialogue with legislators supporting the RH bill, and has renewed its bias for parochial one-on-one talks between bishop and legislator apparently to maintain ascendancy or influence over individual members of Congress on a selective basis.

         The claim that the RH advocacy is being funded by an international lobby is completely baseless and malicious.

         House Bill No. 96 and its precursors since the 11th Congress, and all the current RH bills in the 15th Congress, were visualized, crafted and prepared solely by legislators and local private sector affiliates with neither intervention nor funding from international organizations.

         The RH bill is a purely Philippine initiative in recognition of the critical need to promote reproductive health anchored on protection of human rights, enhancement of maternal and infant health, and attaining sustainable human development.


             The continuing appreciation of the peso to the US dollar, which is expected to level at no less than P42:$1 at yearend, will generate P12.855 billion in savings in debt service interest payments.

 This would enable the House of Representatives to cut debt service by P12.8 billion and realign the liberated amount to education, health and infrastructure.

 The impact on debt service interest payments is P2.571 billion for every peso appreciation.

 The assumption of the peso-US dollar exchange rate is P45-47 to a dollar in the preparation of the National Expenditure Program for 2011.

 If the peso appreciates to P42:$1, then at the high end the net savings in interest payment would be P12.855 billion.

 The House should not be cowed by the Executive from slashing the interest payment for debt service because the reduction is justified and the realignment is imperative.

 The Congress should not be timid in exercising its constitutionally mandated power of the purse.


Since appropriation involves numbers, the majority coalition by force of numbers rammed through the approval on second reading of the President’s National Expenditure Program (NEP) untouched in its entirety as contained in the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2011.

Allies of President Benigno Aquino III in the House of Representatives in the early hours of Saturday morning terminated on cue the period of interpellation and debate on the proposed budget of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the last remaining agency for consideration by the plenary.

The proposed budget of the DSWD for 2011 of P34.1 billion represents a whopping increase of 103.63% over the 2010 appropriations of P15.2 billion and registers the biggest percentage increase among the executive departments.

 The huge budget of DSWD includes the P21.1 billion for the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program which the opposition brands a bloated partisan allocation.

 The majority coalition, by a thunderous viva voce vote, rejected my proposed amendment cutting the CCT funding to P15.0 billion or a reduction of P6.0 billion.

 The reduced amount is the reasonable and adequate funding for the DSWD to service a projected 1.5 million household beneficiaries or an increase of 500,000 grantees over the 2010 level, instead of the overly ambitious proposed beneficiaries of 2.3 million households or an increase of 1.3 million family-beneficiaries which is beyond the absorptive capacity of the DSWD.

 Given DSWD’s admitted lack of trained personnel and the inadequacy of the budgets of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Health (DOH) to accommodate the inordinately enlarged CCT beneficiaries, the program is imperiled while excess amounts would be immobilized instead of being liberated for additional allocations for DepEd and DOH.

The repeated intransigent demands of President Aquino of having the CCT appropriation approved intact reveal a motive to preserve a partisan war chest even as he derogates the constitutional power of the Congress to independently appropriate public funds.