Senate approves P4.1-T 2020 budget on final reading

By Jose Cielito Reganit

November 27, 2019, 9:51 pm

MANILA -- Voting 22-0, the Senate on Wednesday approved on third and final reading the proposed PHP4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

The Senate approved House Bill No. 4228 after Senator Juan Edgardo Angara presented the highlights of the Chamber’s amendments to the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Among the amendments mentioned by Angara were the PHP6 billion additional allocation for the Department of Education (DepEd) for its Last Mile Schools Program which seeks to address the gaps in resources and facilities of schools located in geographically isolated and disadvantaged and conflict-affected areas.

State universities and colleges (SUCs) got an additional PHP1.158 billion for their research programs, sports- and culture-related activities, and new buildings and facilities.

The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) also got an additional allocation of PHP644 million for the purchase of advanced medical equipment, including the Linear Accelerator to help fight cancer, and supplementary funding to the hospital's Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients Program, among others.

On the other hand, the Senate set aside PHP3.173 billion for the Department of Health (DOH) under the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF) to upgrade the salaries of nurses in accordance with the recent Supreme Court decision.

The fight against terrorism also got a boost under the Senate-proposed amendments.

Among these are the PHP920-million allocation that will be given to the Philippine Army for the deployment of one Infantry Division to address the continuing threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi areas.

The Philippine National Police also got an increase of PHP1.529 billion in its budget.

Meanwhile, workers in government could expect another round of salary increases as about PHP32 billion was allocated for Salary Standardization Law-5, which is also included under the MPBF. (PNA)