MANILA, Philippines – The Senate and House of Representatives are set to tackle the passage of the proposed 2020 national budget when the first regular session of the 18th Congress resumes on Monday, Nov. 4.
The 18th Congress went on a break last Oct. 5.
Before its adjournment, the Senate passed Senate Resolution No. 154 authorizing all committees to conduct hearings, meetings, and consultations during the recess to have continuity in the process of passing pending proposed legislations.
According to Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, the discussion on the 2020 budget bill will be at the topmost of the chamber’s priority measures.
“The Senate Finance Committee will definitely be busy conducting marathon hearings on the proposed P4.1 trillion National Government budget for next year. Congress is set to resume session after a one-month recess to tackle the 2020 Budget and other priority measures,” he said in a statement.
Zubiri stressed the importance of the timely passage of the proposed General Appropriations Bill to avoid the scenario of another reenacted budget like what happened last year.
It can be recalled that the passage of the 2019 national budget got stalled due to alleged illegal fund insertions.
“We had experienced difficulties when we failed to pass the 2019 Budget on time. We had a re-enacted budget for the first Semester of this year forcing National Government agencies to compress their timelines. Consequently, many important programs and projects for the benefit of our people were delayed,” Zubiri said.
Aside from next year’s budget, the Senate is also expected to finish Plenary debates on eight measures which have been approved at the Committee level and are pending Second Reading:
- Grant of Night Shift Differential Pay for Government Employees including Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations
- Separate Facility for Prisoners Convicted of Heinous Crimes
- Increasing Excise Taxes on Alcohol Products
- Heated Tobacco and Vapor Products
- Creation of a National Transportation Safety Board
- Amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act
- Creation of the Philippine High School for Sports in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac
- Grant of Teaching Supplies Allowance for Public School Teachers
The House of Representatives, for its part, said it is due to approve on the final reading the resolution seeking to extend the availability of P3.662-trillion budget for 2019 until Dec. 31, 2020.
“We aim to hit the ground running on the first day of work. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time on vital legislative measures,” House Majority Leader Ferdinand Romualdez said in a statement Sunday.
The lower chamber is also set to approve the bill postponing the May 2020 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections to allow more time for incumbent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials who assumed office in May 2018 to implement their respective projects.
Romualdez said the House is also scheduled to continue deliberation of other economic measures, particularly the remaining packages of the comprehensive tax reform program.