Minority bloc bent on expediting budget passage

Published August 15, 2019, 2:19 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Ellson Quismorio

The House Minority bloc led by Manila Rep. Benny Abante has vowed to help expedite the passage of the proposed P4.2-trillion national budget for 2020.

Rep. Bienvenido 'Benny' Abante Jr. (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Rep. Bienvenido ‘Benny’ Abante Jr. (FACEBOOK/ MANILA BULLETIN)

And Abante expects their counterparts from the majority to do the same.

“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 show off,” Abante told reporters, referring to the tactics lawmakers resort to during public hearings.

The National Expenditure Program or NEP–the basis of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or proposed national budget–is expected to be submitted to the House of Representatives by Malacañang on August 20.

The Appropriations committee will begin the per agency budget hearings on August 22.

There’s pressure from congressmen to speed up the passage of the bill following the problems encountered with the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019.

Saddled by issues, the approval of the “cash-based” 2019 budget was delayed, forcing the government to utilize a reenacted budget for the first quarter of the year.

Abante also asked his House colleagues to be mindful about asking redundant questions to resource persons during the public hearings.

He said the minority bloc will be having briefings with different agencies in order to have the members’ questions answered even before the budget hearings.

Abante said the House is looking to approve the GAB on third and final reading between Oct. 5 and 7.