THE House of Representatives and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are working out procedures that will speed up the approval of the national budget and ensure no provisions are vetoed, Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano said.
“That is what we want to do and that is what Budget Secretary (Wendel E.) Avisado wants to do — even before the President submits the budget to Congress, there is consultation with the proper committees of both the House and the Senate, instead of them preparing it and the House revising it and the Senate doing its own revision,” he said in a statement Tuesday.
Mr. Cayetano said the process of preparing the appropriations bill will be smoother and faster “if we can do the budget together.”
To speed up the budget passage, the House and the DBM plan to “obviate” the possibility of the President vetoing or rejecting certain appropriations in the Congress-approved spending bill.
Meanwhile, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said that the planned prior consultation with Congress in the preparation of the national budget is “consistent with the constitutional mandate that the power of the purse lies with the legislature.”
“It will hasten consideration of the President’s budget proposal not only in the House Committee on Appropriations but in Plenary as well,” he said.
In April, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA) after vetoing P95 billion worth of alleged insertions.
Disputes between the House and the Senate over the insertions delayed the signing of the budget. The delay resulted in an economic slowdown in the first two quarters before the economy recovered in the latter part of the year.
The government targeted 6% to 6.5% economic growth in 2019, but the average settled at 5.9%.
Before the year ended, both chambers approved the 2020 national budget to avoid another delay and maintain the economy’s recovery.
The President signed the 2020 GAA on Jan. 6 without vetoing any items.
Mr. Romualdez said that the speed with which the 2020 budget was approved is “unprecedented,” adding that the House leadership only needed 20 working days to “finish the job in approving a pork-free and bereft of any illegal parking of funds and insertions.”
“Our focus right now is to work hard in legislation and pass all the measures needed to improve the living condition of our people. That is the marching order from the President,” he said. — Genshen L. Espedido