THE House of Representatives has introduced amendments involving a total of P65.5 billion in the P5.024-trillion General Appropriations Bill for 2022, a leader of the lower chamber said on Thursday.

House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Eric Yap said these amendments to House Bill 10153 or the 2022 GAB include P20 billion for the vaccine booster shots and P4.5 billion for Special Risk Allowance (SRA) of the qualified public and private health workers.

Yap, also a member of the small committee tasked to consolidate all the amendments to the national budget, said P5 billion has been included for Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP), which covers hospitalization and assistance to indigent and poor patients.

He said the funding for vaccine booster shots, SRA and MAIP will be included in the budget of the Department of Health.

However, Yap has yet to identify what items in the national budget they realigned to accommodate these amendments.

Moreover, the lawmaker said the House also provided additional P10 billion for Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD).

He said the TUPAD program should prioritize indigent families; informal sector families, and those under the next lower poverty level, as determined by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Also, Yap said P10 billion was given to DSWD for its assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS), which includes food assistance, food packs, transportation, medical, burial assistance, assistance to students, cash/food for work and other assistance to individuals, sectors, communities in especially difficult circumstance.

Another P1 billion for DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) has been provided, Yap added.

According to Yap, this SLP will enable each qualified household beneficiary to enroll in two different tracks—Micro-Enterprise Development; and Employment Facilitation through technical and vocational skills training.

Transport, schools

For the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Yap said the House has provided P6 billion for the Service Contracting Program (SCP) under LTFRB.

He said this funding will extend the assistance to transport drivers and operators tide over to their “decreased income” due to health measures enforced in public transportation and to provide free rides to the commuting public.

Yap also said P504 million was added to the budget of State Universities and Colleges, particularly for the operational requirement of four State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), the Adiong Memorial Polytechnic State College in Lanao del Sur, Cotabato State University, Sulu State College, and Tawi-Tawi Regional Agricultural College.

He said these SUCs were unfunded in the original proposed 2022 national budget.

The Department of Information and Communications (DICT) has been given an additional P3 billion for the national broadband program, which sets up a well-established network to provide faster, efficient, and equitable broadband connectivity to the country, especially for the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs).

Yap said P5.5 billion was added to Department of National Defense’s 2022 allocation for the downpayment for the acquisition of five Units of C-130 J for the Humanitarian Assistance Disaster Relief (HADR) operations of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

“The FY 2022 national budget is crucial for our full recovery from the pandemic as a nation. After careful consideration and consultations, we have finalized the amendments for HB 10153. As illustrated, we have appropriated additional budget to the following agencies to further enable them to swiftly, efficiently, and effectively address the needs of the Filipino people,” said Yap.

On September 30, 2021, the House concluded the deliberation for House Bill 10153 or the FY 2022 General Appropriations Bill. With a vote of 238-6-0, the measure was passed on third and final reading in the Lower House. The House then designated Yap, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Ways and Means Chairman Joey Salceda, Deputy Minority Leader Stella Quimbo, and Albay Representative Edcel Lagman to consolidate the amendments on HB 10153.

“Our commitment remains the same: to provide the enabling mechanisms for a responsive and dynamic governance and to strengthen the capabilities of the government in addressing the effects of the pandemic. Rest assured that the government’s battle strategy on health and nutrition, social protection, governance, and development, are carried out in this budget,” Yap said.

Meanwhile, Yap’s office said the House is still preparing the copies of the GAB, which it will officially transmit to the Senate on October 27. 





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