Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano reassured the public yesterday that while the bill containing the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 has been withdrawn, it will not derail the House’s approval of the spending bill come early October.
Alan Peter Cayetano FB Page
Speaker vows no delay in 2020 budget approval
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 3, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Pulling out the bill containing the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 at the height of budget briefings will definitely raise suspicions that members of the House of Representatives will make fund insertions, a key official admitted yesterday.

“I am afraid that a new General Appropriations Bill (GAB) will open the floodgates of insertions,” Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House appropriations committee, acknowledged when asked about the move of House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte.

But Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano reassured the public yesterday that while the bill containing the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 has been withdrawn, it will not derail the House’s approval of the spending bill come early October.

“We assure the public that the budget will be scrutinized but will not be delayed and will be transparent. Pork and parking have no place in the 2020 budget,” the congressman from Taguig stated in a media statement after he arrived from China with President Duterte.

“The House leadership, as originally scheduled, commits to approve the 2020 GAB before Congress goes on recess on the first week of October. The House will ensure the passage of a national budget that is constitutional, legal, transparent and accountable,” he added.

This, in effect, upheld the move by his trusted ally Villafuerte to withdraw House Bill 4228 (GAB) that Ungab filed and underwent first reading.

Villafuerte admitted Sunday having withdrawn Ungab’s House Bill 4228 (GAB) that was taken up last Aug. 28, but only because it was “prematurely filed.”

But Ungab disagreed with Villafuerte’s assertion that the GAB was filed prematurely.

“No, it cannot be considered as prematurely filed. We cannot conduct budget hearings without a bill filed for first reading, with the budget bill being a replica of the NEP,” he said, referring to the National Expenditure Program where budgets of all agencies are laid out.

Ungab, who also held the same position during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III, explained that “this is the practice we’ve been doing for so long” to “ensure transparency and participation in the budget hearings.”

“What I am doing is the proper procedure. This is already my seventh year in the committee on appropriations, three years as vice-chairman and my fourth year as chairman. I’m talking with both knowledge and experience,” he stressed.

To formalize his objection to Villafuerte’s move, he wrote a formal letter to the latter. He pointed out that the printing of the GAB “is almost finished at the APO-NEDA, the copies of which can be immediately distributed to the members of the House once delivered.”

Ungab said the withdrawal would delay budget deliberations in the chamber, most especially because it will “surely raise doubts on our proceedings and the House will be questioned on why it will alter the proposed budget prepared by the executive department.”?

2020 NATIONAL BUDGET GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with