House Speaker Cayetano assures timely 2020 budget approval

Robie de Guzman   •   October 18, 2019   •   419

House of Representatives Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano uses the gavel on stage at the Philippine Congress in Quezon City, east of Manila, Philippines, 22 July 2019. EPA-EFE/ROLEX DELA PENA

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured that the proposed national budget for the year 2020 will be approved on time.

Cayetano said there is no reason to delay the passage of the budget bill, adding that its deliberation is the Congress’ top priority when session resumes on November 4.

“Wala tayong excuse, we have all the time to discuss the budget. May isang buwan na during the break, nirereview natin, nagpreprepare sa bicam,” he told reporters during an interview at the New Clark City sports complex on Wednesday.

Cayetano also said there is a continued interaction between the lawmakers and Cabinet secretaries to fine-tune the budget.

The House of Representatives approved the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget on third and final reading on Sept. 20 after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the bill as urgent.

The House speaker also underscored the importance of the country’s economic rating and the need for programs to uplift the lives of poor Filipinos.

He said the Lower Chamber is set to tackle revenue bills before the year ends as well as a proposal to integrate programs of various government agencies that is seen to benefit poor regions in the country.

“The 20 poorest provinces palagi na lang silang poorest so sa 2020 we want to come up with 20 projects for the 20 poorest provinces. We are talking to the different agencies and departments to help,” he said.

House Speaker Cayetano vows impartial hearing on bills seeking ABS-CBN franchise renewal

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured that the House of Representatives will conduct impartial hearing on bills seeking to renew the franchise of media network ABS-CBN.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cayetano said the renewal of ABS-CBN franchise are among the issues that the Lower House has been “carefully studying from day one of the 18th Congress” amid calls from his colleagues to set a hearing to tackle the pending bills.

“Congress is committed to conduct a hearing where those who are against or in favor of the renewal may make their case,” he said, adding that the move will be consistent with the Duterte administration’s stand on the protection of the freedom of expression.

There are at least 11 bills seeking for the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise pending before a House committee level, just about a month before Congress sessions adjourn on March 11. The network’s franchise is set to expire on March 30.

However, Cayetano stressed that the legislation process cannot be rushed.

“While we understand that there are certain interests who want to rush this process, we stand by the leadership of the 18th Congress and the Committee on Legislative Fanchises on how to prioritize urgent and important legislation,” he said.

“We also commit that the 18th Congress shall study this issue from all aspects in order to protect the interest of the public,” he added.

Cayetano issued the statement after Solicitor General Jose Calida filed a quo warranto case before the Supreme Court asking for the forfeiture of the legislative franchise of ABS-CBN.

Calida cited in his plea the alleged highly abusive practices and violations of the broadcast network, including foreign ownership and lack of operation permits.

The network has denied the accusations, maintaining that it has no outstanding tax liability and did not violate the law.

Duterte likely to sign 2020 budget by first week of January 2020 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   December 27, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019. Witnessing the signing is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign the 2020 national budget in the first week of January, the Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the president is still scrutinizing the budget proposal to ensure that the spending bill does not contain any unconstitutional items.

The Palace official also assured that the chief executive will thoroughly study the budget bill before affixing his signature following Senator Panfilo Lacson’s claim that the House of Representatives made some realignment before the 2020 budget was signed by the Congressional bicameral conference committee.  

READ: Lacson says proposed 2020 budget still tainted with pork barrel

“When somebody says it’s unconstitutional, it doesn’t mean it’s unconstitutional. This president is a lawyer, he knows what is unconstitutional or not, so he decides for himself,” Panelo told reporters.

Duterte earlier signed into law a measure extending the validity of the 2019 national budget until December 31, 2020.

READ: Duterte signs extension of validity of 2019 budget to December next year

The measure will allow government agencies to spend this year’s fund, particularly for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until the end of next year.

This aims to address the government’s need for budget after the delay in the passage of the 2019 National Budget and the implementation of the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte signs extension of validity of 2019 budget to December next year

Marje Pelayo   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte officially signed last week the measure extending the validity of the 2019 National Budget until December 31, 2020.

Signed on December 20, the new Republic Act 11464 which amended Section 25 of the 2019 General Appropriations Act states that: “All appropriations authorized in this Act shall be available for release and obligation for the purpose specified, and under the same special provision applicable thereto, until December 31, 2020.”

The new measure will allow government agencies to spend this year’s fund, particularly for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until the end of next year.

The measure is to address the government’s need for budget after the delay in the passage of the 2020 National Budget and the implementation of the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects.

The MOOE covers the budget for daily operations of government units.

The President already certified as urgent the passing of the 2020 National Budget.

It is expected to be signed in January next year. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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