P4.1-T 2020 budget gets nod in House committee level

Maris Federez   •   September 9, 2019   •   538

The House Committee on Appropriations has approved the P4.1-trillion proposed national budget for 2020.

This, following the series of budget briefings that were conducted for all the departments and their line agencies.

Prior to its approval, the house panel conducted an executive session, which Committee on Appropriations Chair Isidro Ungab said has become a tradition in the lower house of Congress.

Ungab reported that the approval of the bill had been a breeze.

“There were no objections, only manifestations, madali lang na-approve namin,” Ungab said.

This marked the beginning of the plenary debate Ungab will defend the committee-level approved budget.

The plenary debate will pave the way for other congressmen to contest or question the appropriated fund in some government agencies.

With this, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has appealed for the cooperation of his fellow lawmakers for the immediate passage of the proposed budget.

Meanwhile, Ungab has earlier admitted that there had been attempts from other congressmen to insert around P70-B to P90-B in the budget for the public works projects in their respective districts.

“I have to be prank and honest. Mahirap talaga kasi malaki yung amount. Mahirap ma-entertain yung kanilang request,” Ungab said.

He assured, however, that there was no pork barrel inserted in the national budget.

The plenary debate is expected to run for two weeks, with the approval of the budget to take place before the first session break on October 4. (from the report of Joan Nano) /mbmf

Cayetano, other solons to work from home after exposure to virus-infected Yap

Robie de Guzman   •   March 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other lawmakers and staff who physically attended the House of Representatives’ special session last Monday will go on self-quarantine after ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Yap Go confirmed he contracted novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Yap earlier revealed that he attended the special session on March 23 at the Batasan Pambansa while his coronavirus test results were still pending. He, however, stressed that he took safety precautions as he became paranoid about his mild cough.

At least 20 lawmakers were physically present at the special session, including House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante, Representatives France Castro, Edgar Sarmiento, Mikey Arroyo, Sharky Palma, Precious Castelo, and Janette Garin, Deputy Speakers Raneo Abu, LRay Villafuerte, Robbie Puno, and Dong Gonzales, Representatives Bong Suntay, Jon Jalosjos, Manny Lopez, Tonypet Albano, Jonathan Sy-Alvarado, Mike Defensor, Blu Abaya, Bambol Tolentino, Cayetano, and Yap.

The said lawmakers confirmed they will work from home during their self-quarantine.

Sara Duterte hits ally’s ‘grossly unacceptable’ ouster from key House post

Robie de Guzman   •   March 3, 2020

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who chairs the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) blasted the removal of Davao City Third District Representative Isidro Ungab as head of the House Committee on Appropriations in the lower chamber’s major shake-up on Monday.

In a statement on Tuesday, Duterte-Carpio said the HNP “strongly condemns” Ungab’s removal from the key House post, calling it “grossly unacceptable” and “disadvantageous” to the reform agenda being pushed by the Duterte government.

“For HNP, the ouster of Ungab was grossly unacceptable as it is disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda for the Filipino people and the country,” she said.

Also booted out from post is Oriental Mindoro Representative Paulino Salvador “Doy” Leachon as head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earlier said Ungab and Leachon were removed from their posts because they were “more interested in funds and intrigues” than working with him.

The shake-up follows Cayetano’s accusations against Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco of attempting to stage a coup to grab the top House post.

Velasco has denied the allegation.

Duterte-Carpio said Ungab is a good soldier of the President who did his job with pride and principle.

She, however, denied any personal knowledge on the alleged coup attempt.

Meanwhile, Leachon claimed that Cayetano’s move was just a smokescreen of his alleged intention of not honoring the term-sharing agreement with Velasco as brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“You’ve been telling that there was a coup in order to, as I said it was a smokescreen para pagtaguan ang tunay na dahilan na gusto mo magtagal sa position para diridiretso ang enjoyment ng kasamahan or ikaw partikular ka sa iyong probinsya to the detriment of other members,” he said.

It can be recalled that in July 2019, Duterte brokered a “15-21” term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco to settle the conflict in the then-House speakership race.

Under the deal, Cayetano will serve the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the remaining 21 months of the three-year term. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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)

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