SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano expressed gratitude for the cooperation and fast work of congressmen that resulted in initial accomplishments of the House of Representatives.
Cayetano marked his first month as Speaker of the House. He will serve for the next 14 months under the term-sharing scheme.
“Salamat ulit sa Diyos sa pagkakataon na binigay, one month anniversary sa Congress. But I think record breaking because halos completely organized na ang Congress in less than a month,” Cayetano said a video message sent to House media.
The Speaker attended the budget hearing last Thursday.
He also mentioned the quick approval of the first tax measure of the Duterte administration for the 18th Congress.
Last Tuesday, the House approved on third and final reading House Bill 1026, which increases the excise tax on alcohol, tobacco and vape products.
Originally, the bill only covers increase in excise tax for alcohol but amendments were introduced and approved eventually at the plenary.
The Speaker then lauded House leaders and members who are working even during holidays in order to pass the budget on time.
Majority Leader Martin Romualez said the House leadership under Speaker Cayetano is committed to pass a constitutionally compliant national budget for year 2020.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) recently submitted to the House the proposed P4.1 trillion budget for the next fiscal year.
The budget is 12 percent higher than the 2019 budget of P3.662 trillion and is expected to fund programs and projects that will continue the journey towards a more peaceful and progressive Philippines.
According to Cayetano, there will be no more pork barrel for the lawmakers in the proposed budget because equitable distribution of funds will be implemented.
Included in the 2020 budget are the critical programs, namely, Universal Healthcare (166.5 billion); National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) (92.2 billion); Department of Health Human Resources for Health Deployment (P7 billion); Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (108.8 billion); Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (P70.6 billion); Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (P10 billion) Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (P641.6 million) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (P622.3 million).,