he ₱4.1 trillion national budget for next year passed its first hurdle.
The House of Representatives approved of its version of the proposed 2020 national budget at the plenary level, with 257 affirmative and 6 negative votes.
The 2020 national budget was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte on September 17.
House leaders have previously defended the budget from allegations of pork and illegal insertions, an issue that has delayed the passage of the 2019 budget.
“As defined by the Supreme Court, there’s (no pork),” House committee on appropriations vice chair Joey Salceda said in a media briefing Wednesday.
He added that the ₱100,000 allocation for each Representative in the proposed 2020 budget was placed by members of the executive branch when they submitted their proposal, and was not touched by the representatives.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano added that there were realignments to increase the funds for the departments of agriculture, health, energy and education.
“None of these will be in the category of pork or lump sums na paghahatian ng mga kongresista (that congressmen will split among themselves) … There will be no post-budget enactment intervention by any member of Congress,” Cayetano said Tuesday.
The bill for the proposed budget was previously withdrawn from plenary deliberations on September 1 for alleged premature filing.