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Belmonte says Congress' early approval of 2012 national budget 'a vote of confidence' to PNoy leadership

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Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has called the "earliest ever approval" of the national budget is a "vote of confidence" to the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III.

"The overwhelming vote to pass the appropriation was, above all, a vote of confidence in the leadership of PNoy (President Aquino)," he said.

Belmonte earlier said the proposed P1.813 trillion national budget for 2012 "was crafted by legislators with great pragmatism, and with as much foresight as is humanly possible."

More importantly, he said, the proposed General Appropriations Bill for 2012 "is a budget aligned to the overarching objectives of our people --drastic reduction in poverty and the empowerment of the disadvantaged; economic growth; and the fight against corruption, to name a few."

The ratification of the proposed 2012 national budget was done on Tuesday afternoon through 'viva voce' (voice vote) at the House of Representatives.

Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said early approval of the proposed budget for next year will enable the President to sign the General Appropriations Act (GAA) by mid-December.

"This early enactment alone will facilitate the early implementation of priority programs and projects. But beyond that, the 2012 budget itself is designed in a way that addresses the bottlenecks that have hampered timely execution," he said.

Abad said some P150.5 billion in lump-sum funds have been fleshed out in the 2012 budget into regional allocations and specific projects and locations, a development that would change earlier practice that made projects "un-transparent" delayed implementation of projects.

He also said budgets of departments and agencies have been distributed to the smallest implementing units, minimizing central office bottlenecks.

The DBM chief also said the government increased the regionalized portion of the 2012 budget by 151 percent to P787.6 billion, from P621.2 billion in 2011.

As such, he said that departments and agencies have already started conducting pre-construction preparatory work when it comes to infrastructure projects, in time for the entry of fiscal year 2012.

"With these, agencies will be able to start executing their programs and projects - especially infrastructure - within January," he said, noting that some P255.2 billion of the 2012 budget has been allocated for infrastructure and other capital outlays.

The President is expected to sign the GAA of 2012 on or before December 15.

By Lilybeth G. Ison




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