Bicam restores DepEd's P150 million confidential funds, P10 billion NTF-ELCAC budget

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 05 2022 03:15 PM

MANILA — The Bicameral Conference Committee on Monday restored the P150 million confidential fund of the Department of Education (DepEd) and the P10 billion budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as it wrapped up work on reconciling the disagreeing provisions of the 2023 national budget.

A copy of the summary of the bicameral conference committee report showed that the panel made some P395.335 billion in realignments. 

"Yung sa DepEd, naibalik po yun. Pero yung sa ibang agencies po na tinapyas po ng Senado, hindi na po naibalik yun...Yes. It's back to P150 million," Senate Finance Committee Chair Sonny Angara told reporters. 

(The DepEd funds were stored. But those of other agencies slashed by the Senate were not.)

"That's the decision of the House kasi mahirap na ang mga kabataan natin nare-recruit sa maling mapuntang landas so we want the DepEd to spearhead... We want them to secure the future of our children," House Appropriations Committee Chair Zaldy Co said. 

(Our youth are being recruited towards the wrong path.) 

Lawmakers also "restored the original" budget of the NTF-ELCAC, Angara said. 

The senator, however, could not say where the funds for the restoration of the NTF-ELCAC budget came from.

Angara and Co also reported more funds went to ayuda or aid.

Without going into details, Angara added more funds were realigned to education, infrastructure, the judiciary along with other Cabinet agencies.

In a statement, Speaker Martin Romualdez welcomed the development.

"With this budget, which is the first full-year spending plan proposed by the President, we hope to hasten our economic growth, which should benefit our people,” Romualdez said as he congratulated House and Senate leaders for approving the bicameral report on the national budget.