SENATE President Vicente Sotto III yesterday belied reports that the Senate reduced by P3 billion the budget for palay procurement next year.
He said the Senate merely transferred the funds from the National Food Authority to the Land Bank of the Philippines
“Transferring funds from NFA to Land Bank is not dagdag-bawas (addition-subtraction). Ang alam ko institutional amendment ‘yun (What I know is that it’s an institutional amendment),” he said.
Finance committee chair Juan Edgardo Angara said the proposed P3 billion funds to buy palay was moved by the Senate agriculture subcommittee “for the same purpose also, palay procurement.”
“It will be discussed (in the bicam), but too early to tell what will happen eventually,” Angara said.
The bicameral conference committee is set to resume today its deliberations on differing amendments to the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda has accused the Senate of “P235-billion dagdag-bawas,” saying it cut the palay procurement fund by P3 billion in its version of the 2020 national budget.
Malacañang has proposed a P7-billion for the National Food Authority. The House, which has been calling for additional aid to rice farmers, increased by P3 billion the NFA’s palay procurement fund, raising it to P10 billion.
Salceda said the P235-billion dagdag bawas involved adding P135 billion to the proposed budget and shaving P100 billion.
He said the P235 billion in the Senate-sponsored changes is aside from the P9.5 billion which was realigned by the House of Representatives before the General Appropriations Bill was sent to the Senate.