Cayetano assures no delay in passing 2020 proposed National Budget

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2019   •   126

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano assured that there will be no delays in the passage of the proposed National Budget for 2020 in the House of Representative (HOR).

However, there will be slight changes in the budget of several agencies such as the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Energy and Health.

The Lower House also vowed to scrutinize the funds for infrastructure projects to prevent ‘cuts’ or corruption in the government’s projects.

“There will be no post budget enactment intervention by any member of Congress dyan,” Cayetano said.

“So iyong ‘no pork, no parking, no delay,’ iyan na rin ang mantra namin, ( ‘No pork, no parking, no delay, that is our mantra now to),” Cayeteno said. – MNP (with details from Vincent Arboleda)

Senate rejects House version of 2020 proposed national budget

Maris Federez   •   November 5, 2019

Senate President Vicente Sotto III

MANILA, Philippines – “It would be easier for a camel to pass through a needle than to have the House version of the proposed P4.1-billion 2020 national budget pass the Senate,” so to speak.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III made the statement after their Monday caucus. They all agreed that they cannot readily approve and adopt the House version due to several amendments that need to be done in the budget.

“We discussed the schedule. We cannot adopt it. Many amendments necessary,” said Senate President Sotto.

The senators arrived at that decision amid Senator Panfilo Lacson’s expose of the purported “parked” funds for several government agencies amounting to P20-billion, with no detailed item on where and how it is going to be used.

Some senators have also expressed their sentiments against an immediate passage of the House version of the budget.

Senator Lacson asked for transparency as the hearing on the proposed budget continues.

He asked to have the proposed amendments submitted by his fellow lawmakers be made public, especially when the proposed budget is referred to the bicameral conference committee. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

P4.1-T 2020 budget gets nod in House committee level

Maris Federez   •   September 9, 2019

The House Committee on Appropriations has approved the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020.

This, following the series of budget briefings that were conducted for all the departments and their line agencies.

Prior to its approval, the house panel conducted an executive session, which Committee on Appropriations Chair Isidro Ungab said has become a tradition in the lower house of Congress.

Ungab reported that the approval of the bill had been a breeze.

“There were no objections, only manifestations, madali lang na-approve namin,” Ungab said.

This marked the beginning of the plenary debate Ungab will defend the committee-level approved budget.

The plenary debate will pave the way for other congressmen to contest or question the appropriated fund in some government agencies.

With this, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has appealed for the cooperation of his fellow lawmakers for the immediate passage of the proposed budget.

Meanwhile, Ungab has earlier admitted that there had been attempts from other congressmen to insert around P70-B to P90-B in the budget for the public works projects in their respective districts.

“I have to be prank and honest. Mahirap talaga kasi malaki yung amount. Mahirap ma-entertain yung kanilang request,” Ungab said.

He assured, however, that there was no pork barrel inserted in the national budget.

The plenary debate is expected to run for two weeks, with the approval of the budget to take place before the first session break on October 4. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

DOTr defends bid to grant emergency powers to Duterte

Maris Federez   •   September 5, 2019

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday (Sept. 5) appealed to the House of Representatives (HOR) to grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte.

This is to give the government more latitude in addressing the traffic problems, particularly in Metro Manila.

While DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade agrees to the lawmakers that several traffic strategies can be implemented even without any grant of emergency powers to the executive, he said such implementation will be slow and might not still be completed even after their term in office has ended.

Tugade further said government projects that are aimed at solving the traffic problems in the country may even be stalled by the long processes in the bureaucracy and even by some laws, such as, on the Right of Way.

To which some members of the House disagree.

“In other countries, no emergency powers were granted to the executive to solve the traffic congestion,” said Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman.

Tugade, on the other hand, said, “emergency power is not forever. It has a defined time. In fact, sinasabi ho namin noon at uulitin ko ngayon, yung emergency power noon was between two to three years kung naibigay ho noon yan [we’d been saying ever since, and I’m saying it again, the emergency powers (we’ve been asking then) was between two and three years, if it had been granted then].”

Earlier on Thursday, the DOTr presented to the House their P147-billion proposed budget for 2020.

A major portion of this will be allocated to the railway sector with P108-billion budget, or equivalent to 98.78% of the department’s total budget.

The department believes that improving the railway sector will be a big help in easing the transportation problems not just in Metro Manila but in other key areas in the country as well. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

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