Dec 152014

The Senate on Monday ratified the P2.6-trillion national budget for 2015, adopting the bicameral committee report on the new definition of savings as well as some realignments due to amendments introduced by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

In his manifestation on the Senate floor, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, chairman of the bicameral panel and the Senate committee on finance, called on his fellow senators to adopt the bicameral report.

“Without a negative vote, the Senate hereby adopts the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions in the House bill for the 2015 national budget. So ordered,” Senate President Franklin Drilon declared when no opposition was raised on Escudero’s manifestation by the 12 other senators present in plenary.

Under the ratified committee report, savings refer to portions or balances of any released appropriations under the 2015 budget but have not been obligated as a result of the following:

  • an ongoing program, activity or project was discontinued or abandoned and given finality the agency head concerned due to causes that cannot be cited as the fault or negligence of the agency that would implement the program, activity or project impossible
  • the program, activity or project could commence because the appropriations is released due to natural or man-made calamities or other causes not attributable to the fault or negligence of the agency concerned
  • decreased cost as a result of improved efficiency during implementation or until the program, activity or project is completed
  • a difference between the  budget approved for the contract and the contract price that was awarded

Savings may likewise refer to available balances of appropriations arising from unused compensation and related costs pertaining to unfilled, vacant or abolished positions, non-entitlement to allowances and benefits, leaves of absence without pay and unutilized pension and retirement benefits arising from death of pensioners, decrease in the number of retirees, or other related causes.

However, programmed appropriations or allotments that have not been released or allotments not obligated due to the fault of the agency concerned shall not be considered savings.

It is now up to President Benigno Aquino III to sign or veto the ratified budget bill. — JDS, GMA News

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