The Senate Finance Committee on Friday increased the proposed budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) for 2021 from P208-billion to P215-billion.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, vice chair of the Senate finance panel, and sponsor of the DND’s proposed budget for 2021, said the DND’s budget includes P1.3-billion for the Government Arsenal, P139.7-million for the National Defense College of the Philippines, P1.25-billion for the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), P842.4-million for the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), and P2.177-billion for the Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC).
The DND’s budget also includes a P209-billion appropriation for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
According to Lacson, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had only endorsed a P208.7-billion for the DND under the National Expenditure Program (NEP). This is lower than the agency’s request for P245-3-billion.
The House of Representatives increased the DND’s budget to P210.7-billion under the 2021 national budget but the senators decided to augment this by P5-billion.
Lacson assured that the funds allocated by Congress for the DND would not be marked again as “for later release” by the Executive department.
He stressed that the General Appropriations Act (GAA) is a law that the Executive department should comply with and enforce.
“The amendments introduced by both houses, members of both houses of Congress should not be interrupted or tampered with by the DBM,” the senator said.