• House ratifies P2.268 trillion budget for 2014, earmarks P100 billion for Yolanda rehab

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    Via a viva voce vote, the House of Representatives ratified the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 2630 or the proposed P2.268 trillion budget for 2014.

    With 253 members in attendance, the House gave its nod to the proposed 2014 budget which earmarks P100 billion for the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts needed to address the damages in Visayas provinces brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda—the strongest typhoon in the world for 2013.

    Of the P100 billion, P80 billion will come from unprogrammed funds while the remaining P20 billion will be from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).

    The unprogrammed funds are allocations that cannot be released unless revenue sources exceed target, loans or borrowings are perfected and there are new revenue sources not included in the proposed source.

    The MPBF, on the other hand, is an allocation for new hires in government and is only released by the Department of Budget and Management to a specific agency if the new employees are already hired. The Aquino administration initially allotted P80.7 billion for MPBF under its proposed 2014 budget.

    Secretary Florencio Abad of the Department of Budget and Management assured that the Aquino administration can raise the P100 billion, even the main source of the said fund—the unprogrammed budget—is largely dependent on government revenues.

    Abad cited that the unprogrammed fund cannot be found wanting because the P100 billion budget will be largely sourced from the concessional loan proceeds under the unprogrammed fund which include those coming from the Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank (WB), Japan International Cooperation Agency, European Union, United Nations and other bilateral sources.

    “The combined commitment of ADB and WB is already P66 billion. Add JICA, UN and bilateral sources, and that can likely reach P100 billion,” Abad argued in a separate text message. LLANESCA T. PANTI

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