Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab said the hearings would be done after the formal submission of the National Expenditure Program, the basis for the General Appropriations Bill, of fiscal year 2020 to House members.
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House vows to hold hearings to expedite 2020 budget
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The leadership of the House of Representatives under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will hold budget hearings even on Friday starting Aug. 22 when the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) submits the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.

“We will do our best to approve the budget on time and exercise our constitutional duty to scrutinize the budget to make sure that every peso that we appropriate will contribute to the overall growth and development of the country,” Davao Rep. Isidro Ungab said.

Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, made the promise as Congress awaits the scheduled submission of the annual outlay to lawmakers tomorrow through acting Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado.

Ungab said the hearings would be done after the formal submission of the National Expenditure Program, the basis for the General Appropriations Bill, of fiscal year 2020 to House members.

The target date for passage of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is on Oct. 4 before the congressional recess, he said.

House Press and Public Affairs Bureau executive director Ma. Bernadette dela Cuesta has announced that the budget submission will be video streamed live to enable public viewing of the event.

Ungab said the appropriations committee hopes to finish the budget hearings by the second week of September and start plenary deliberations as soon as the panel approves its committee report.

The budget hearings will kick off on Thursday at 9 a.m. with a briefing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), the inter-agency body that determines the overall economic targets, expenditure levels and budget of the government.

The DBCC is composed of the DBM, National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Finance and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

On Friday, the appropriations committee will review the budget proposals of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

In its earlier media releases, DBM said the 2020 national budget has the theme “Continuing the journey to a more peaceful and progressive Philippines” as it aims to “sustain the tremendous progress that the Philippines has made as a nation during the administration of President Duterte.”

House leaders led by Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, along with Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, assured the public that the 2020 national budget would be passed on time, unlike this year, when it was delayed by about four months.

“Members of the minority are well-informed, very professional, well-behaved and well-disciplined to say the least. We’ve promised that none of us will do any grandstanding or something for purposes of showing off,” Abante vowed.

With such assurance, the congressman from Manila’s sixth district also said they expect the same from their counterparts in the majority coalition, which simply means there should also be no grandstanding on the part of administration lawmakers.

“That is our request with the House Majority: no grandstanding, please,” he added.

The House may approve the GAB on third and final reading between Oct. 5 and Oct. 7.

2020 BUDGET CONGRESS
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