MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives on Thursday started its hearing on the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for the year 2020.
The House Committee on Appropriations began its budget deliberations with a briefing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), the inter-agency that sets the overall economic targets, expenditure levels and budget of the government.
Davao City Third District Rep. Isidro Ungab, who chairs the committee, earlier said the DBCC briefing is one of the most important aspects in the lawmakers’ work and duty to scrutinize the 2020 national budget bill.
“The macroeconomic assumptions to be outlined will help guide our policy makers and business sector to craft plans based on the government projections on economic growth, price stability, among others, including government expenditures, as well as general directions for the coming fiscal year,” Ungab said in a statement.
The Thursday’s DBCC briefing was participated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Finance (DOF), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
On Friday, Ungab said officials of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) will present their budget proposals to the committee.
Prior to the start of the House budget deliberations, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano called for a major caucus with the members of the 18th Congress on Wednesday.
Around 160 lawmakers attended the meeting, which according to Cayetano, discussed the various priority measures laid out by President Rodrigo Duterte in his fourth State of the Nation Address and the setting of tasks and responsibilities.
“We discussed the various priority measures enumerated by President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address last month which will be included in the informal coordination meeting with the Senate and the Executive offices next week” Cayetano said in a Facebook post.
“After receiving the 2020 national budget yesterday, we are setting timelines and defining tasks and responsibilities to ensure that we get things done,” he added.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez earlier said they are targeting to hold marathon sessions, both in the plenary and committee level, to ensure the passage of the budget bill before the end of the year.
Romualdez said that by September 12, the lower chamber would hold sessions on Thursdays and Fridays, past the regular schedule of Monday to Wednesday.
He added that the plenary session has also been moved from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. to give way to four budget hearings scheduled by the appropriations committee. (RRD with details from correspondent Joan Nano)
The House Defeat COVID-19 Committee has approved a bill seeking to provide a P1.5-trillion fund to create sustainable jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
House Bill 6709 or the proposed “COVID-19 Unemployment Reduction Economic Stimulus (CURES) Act of 2020″ is set to fund infrastructure projects in rural areas to help curb unemployment amid the pandemic.
The CURES Act of 2020 shall also be undertaken with the “Balik Probinsya Bagong Pag-asa Program” and the immediate funding of CURES projects shall target the construction of health centers, school buildings, vocational learning centers, as well as improving fish ports and trading centers at barangay levels.
The House Bill is expected to be sponsored on Thursday (May 28) for its 2nd reading approval in the plenary on Thursday afternoon. It will have to go through a 3rd and final reading before it can hurdle the House.
Meanwhile, representatives of other government agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Education (DepEd) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) also endorsed the approval of the proposed CURES Act of 2020.–AAC
MANILA, Philippines – Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez on Thursday said he will propose the suspension of deliberations on the controversial charter change (Cha-Cha) proposals amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, said he is inclined to recommend to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to “shelve Cha-Cha indefinitely” to focus on discussing measures to address the public health crisis and help the Filipino people prepare for the ‘new normal’.
The lawmaker made the proposal following claims that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and other advocates initiated moves to gather up to two million signatures in support of Cha-Cha.
“This is not the time for the DILG and its allies to relaunch their signature drive and renew their push for Cha-cha. They should postpone it until this health crisis is over,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
“So my message to Cha-cha advocates and their DILG patrons is: stop it, it won’t fly while there is a pandemic,” he added.
Rodriguez said pushing for Cha-Cha can wait as Congress will first have to attend to measures that will “save lives and the livelihood of our people.”
The DILG earlier denied it has launched a signature campaign for Cha-Cha, branding these reports as fake news. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez has filed a bill that would grant ABS-CBN Corporation a new franchise.
On Wednesday (May 6), Rodriguez filed House Bill No. 6694 proposing to grant ABS-CBN a new legislative franchise for 25 years.
“In order to continue to provide uninterrupted and improved delivery of its services to the Filipino people, the franchise should be granted in the soonest possible time,” he said.
The House representative also filed House Joint Resolution (HJR) No. 30 provisional franchise to ABS-CBN until June 2022.
According to Rodriguez, this is while both the Senate and the House of Representatives “need additional time to review, assess, and determine whether or not ABS-CBN shall be granted a new franchise.” AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)
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