The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Wednesday was broadly warned by a lawmaker against encroaching into Congress’ turf.
The veiled warning made by Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar stemmed from the 100-page long errata on the proposed P2.606-trillion budget for 2015 submitted by the (DBM) to the House of Representatives.
The errata hang in the balance, alongside the proposed P37-billion additional budget for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), because members of the House appropriations committee are at odds on whether the errata should be accommodated in the 2015 budget, which the chamber approved on second reading last September 26.
Evardone, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appro-priations, contended that the errata from the DBM that are as good as amendments would need to be adopted by a lawmaker for them to be considered by the chamber’s Small Committee that reviews individual amendments by lawmakers since the DBM’s role is submitting a budget proposal, not amending such proposal.
“Without a legislator that will adopt the errata as his or her own proposed amendments, [they]cannot be accommodated. Otherwise, it would appear that the DBM is meddling with Congress’ power of the purse,” he noted.
The DBM’s participation, according to Evardone, is limited to submission of the budget, defending and justifying it before the plenary.
“After the budget’s approval before the plenary floor, [the DBM]can’t be involved anymore,” the former journalist pointed out to reporters.
“The DBM should stick to its role. It would be illegal if [its]amendments would be considered without a lawmaker adopting the proposal as his or her own,” Evardone said.
Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao City, who heads the appropriations panel and the Small Committee, said the fate of 100-page long errata will be decided before the end of this week.
Meanwhile, Rep. Terry Ridon of Kabataan party-list, sought an ambitious P37.7-billion hike for the budget of 113 SUCs in the country to beat the October 1 deadline for the individual amendments that lawmakers wanted inserted in the proposed 2015 national budget or House Bill 4968.
In seeking the P37.7 billion, he said portions of allocations under the Budgetary Support to Government Corporations (P27.6 million), Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan Program (P5 billion), Unprogrammed Funds Support for Infrastructure Projects and Social Programs (P15 billion) and Unprogrammed Funds-Risk Management Program (P17.7 billion) should be transferred to the SUCs.
“For years, our students and constituents have called for greater state funding for education. What our state schools need is a substantial increase, an additional budget that could match their actual funding requirement,” Ridon, a lawyer, argued.