“For public transparency, I propose that all the budget hearings be live streamed and open to full news media coverage,” Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said yesterday in a statement.
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Lawmaker wants live streaming for budget hearings
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - August 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list lawmaker wants plenary deliberations on the P4.1 trillion budget for 2020 live streamed and open to full media coverage to ensure greater transparency.

“For public transparency, I propose that all the budget hearings be live streamed and open to full news media coverage,” Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said yesterday in a statement.

“These budget hearings should also run parallel with the hearings of priority legislation sent to the committees. Maybe while we tackle the bills in the mornings, we work on the budget from after lunch until past midnight if necessary,” he said.

The House of Representatives has set for Oct.5 – its first recess – its self-imposed deadline for passing the budget.

“Down the road, if the Senate manages to approve the budget before Dec. 20, that will give the bicameral conference committee more time to reconcile the budget bills,” he explained.

The lawmaker added that President Duterte may also call for special session of Congress during the Christmas break so that the budget would be passed on time.

The lawmaker pointed out that they only have six weeks to hear and pass the proposed national budget, which the Palace will submit on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

He said the challenge for lawmakers is how to “speed up the budget process to avoid a reenacted budget while making sure the proper scrutiny and evaluation are still done.”

The House appropriations committee has immediately set budget briefing with executive agencies on Thursday, Aug. 22.

House majority leader and Leyte 1st Rep. Martin Romualdez has revealed that the lower house has adopted mechanisms to speed up the budget proceedings.

First, he said they would meet with economic managers and department heads of the executive branch ahead of the budget deliberations.

“We will hold budget briefings so that our colleagues will have enough time to raise their concerns and interact with the economic managers and department secretaries,” he said.

Another measure, Romualdez said, is to limit queries of lawmakers during actual deliberations.

“We also appeal to our colleagues to avoid repetitive questions during formal budget deliberations,” he said.

Despite House efforts to fast-track budget deliberations, Romualdez said next year’s appropriations “will go through the normal and very transparent process of deliberations to fully discuss its merits and main objective to serve the people.”

2020 BUDGET LIVE STREAMING TRANSPARENCY
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