House okay sets record

September 21, 2019
Martin Romualdez & Alan Peter Cayetano
RECORD BREAKING. House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez (right), with wife Tingog Party-List Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (left), with wife Taguig City Rep. Maria Laarni Cayetano, show a copy of House Bill 4228 or the General Appropriations Bill after lawmakers broke the record for the earliest time the GAB was passed in the history of Congress.

2020 budget passed in record time to refocus on other priority measures –– House leader.

SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano said the swift approval of the proposed 2020 national budget was deliberately done in order for the House of Representatives to also focus on other pressing measures.

Cayetano expressed gratitude to Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and chairman of the appropriations committee Isidro Ungab for leading the budget hearing and deliberations.

In his speech after the approval on third and final reading of House Bill 4228 or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), Cayetano said it is also important for Congress to pass the priority measures so that the budget will be funded and spent properly.

“Our passing of budget in record time will give our standing and special committees more time to exercise their oversight functions especially over the 2019 budget, programs, and platform, and projects of our country,” Cayetano said.

“It will also give us enough time to pass urgent measures including revenue measures that will fund the budget next year for the next generations to come,” Cayetano said.

The House leader stressed that early passage of the budget measure gives lawmakers time to review the programs on health, education, and other social services.

On Friday night, the House approved on final reading the proposed P4.1 trillion budget for 2020 with a vote of 257 and six against.

The 2020 budget’s approval is record-setting as it was done in only 20 working days within a period of 30 days.

The approval also marks the earliest passage of the budget during the Duterte Administration.

This assures the enactment of the 2020 national budget on time and on schedule, in line with the commitment of Cayetano that the budget measure has “no pork, no parked fund, and no delay.”

As stated in the 2020 GAB, the top 10 departments with the biggest allocations are: (1) Department of Education, P673 billion; (2) Department of Public Works and Highways, P534.3 billion; (3) Department of the Interior and Local Government, P238 billion; (4) Department of Social Welfare and Development, P195 billion; (5) Department of National Defense, P189 billion; (6) Department of Health, P166.5 billion; (7) Department of Transportation, P147 billion; (8) Department of Agriculture, P93.1 billion; (9) The Judiciary, P38.7 billion; and (10) Department of Environment and Natural Resources, P26.4 billion.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submitted the National Expenditure Program (NEP) last August 20. It was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Next year’s budget is the 20-20 budget. 20-20 is a symbol of perfect vision. By no means, Dear Colleagues, that 20-20 as we passed today is perfect. Many circumstances and events in the last few days, last few weeks, will also lead us to review certain parts of the budget,” the House leader added.