House panel grants DFA higher budget

THE special panel, under the House Committee on Appropriations, has recently adopted two amendments to the proposed 2015 P2.606 trillion budget.

Liberal Party Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and head of the special committee tasked to accommodate amendments to “the proposed budget,” said the amendments include a provision that would empower the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to extend legal assistance even to undocumented overseas workers who are in distress and the strict compliance to the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Audit (COA) in the utilization of funds.

“So far, the amendments adopted by the committee are the inclusion of a special provision in the DFA budget expanding the coverage of legal-assistance funds to include all migrant workers in distress, whether documented or undocumented and a provision providing for a prescribed format on the compliance report with the COA findings and recommendations,” Ungab said. According to Ungab, all the proposed amendments to the 2015 General Appropriations Bill will still be subject to thorough scrutiny and deliberation.

“The committee will continue to subject all proposed amendments to thorough and meticulous review and study and ensure that any adoption thereof shall be in
accordance with laws and rules,” he said.

The lawmaker said the next year’s budget will be approved on third and final reading when session resumes on October 20.

“We are following the budget calendar and we are still on time. We intend to pass the 2015 budget when Congress resumes [session],” Ungab said.

Congress takes a three-week break from September 27 to October 19.

Earlier, Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad said there is nothing wrong with the submission of amendments, adding that [It] is not something new—the submission of corrections to errors that are typographical, textual or numerical. Nothing substantial is involved. You cannot avoid making these errors during inputting of data, printing of the material or aligning text and numbers.”


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