Marathon hearings set to speed up 2020 budget okay

September 09, 2019
Martin Romualdez
House Majority Leader and Committee on Rules Chairman Rep. Martin Romualdez (right) presides over the special meeting with members of the rules committee to discuss the budget deliberation today at the plenary. Photo by Ver Noveno

HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez said the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has vowed to work overtime and pursue the daunting task of passing the proposed 2020 P4.1 trillion national expenditure program (NEP) that was endorsed yesterday by the House Committee on Appropriations for plenary debates starting this Tuesday afternoon.

Romualdez, who chairs the House Committee on Rules, said he expects the majority of his colleagues to attend the two-week marathon hearings on House Bill (HB) No. 4228 or the Fiscal Year 2020 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

The House leader also confirmed that the same GAB based on NEP was referred again last Wednesday to the House Committee on Appropriations without insertions.

“We will work overtime to finish the budget deliberations. We are on track to meet the target deadline,” said Romualdez on the budget floor debates that would start at 1 p.m. from Tuesday to Friday this week and Monday to Friday next week.

“It was the same and original GAB based on NEP that was sent again to the Appropriations Panel,” said Romualdez.

On Sunday, Romualdez appealed to his colleagues to only speak within their allotted time during budget floor debates to ensure the swift passage of the proposed national budget.

1Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, the leader of the 54-man Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI), said their bloc will guarantee that President Duterte’s national budget for next year will be approved as sought by the leadership.

“We are one and solidly behind the swift passage of the national budget to propel the country’s economic growth and push through with the implementation of President Duterte’s priority programs,” said Romero.

Ako Bisaya party-list Rep.  Sonny Lagon backed Cayetano and Romualdez’s appeal for their colleagues to approve the national budget without delay.

“The swift passage of the national budget in the House of Representatives will guarantee that there will be no delays in its enactment into law. This will also ensure the swift passage of President Duterte’s programs and projects for the welfare of the poor and marginalized sectors,” said Lagon.

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, thanked his colleagues who responded to the call of duty to help in the study and review of the budget proposals of the different government departments and agencies to determine the necessity of their programs and projects.

Ungab reported that his Committee has completed in record time the hearings on the 2020 budget proposals of all government departments agencies and offices.

He said it was made possible through the guidance of Cayetano who wants to ensure the timely passage of a pork-free and illegal insertion-free budget that will provide the Filipino people with a safe and comfortable life.