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Budget deliberations pushing through as planned

Congress to receive NEP on Aug. 20; Budget hearings on by Aug. 22 – Ungab

/ 09:28 AM August 14, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte will submit the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to Congress on Tuesday, August 20, with budget deliberations to follow two days after, House appropriations panel chairman and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab said Wednesday.

“Sa Tuesday, August 20 mag-submit ng NEP ang executive,” Ungab told INQUIRER.net.

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Ways and means panel chairman and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said Malacanang would submit the NEP on Thursday, August 15.

Despite the change in the date of submission, Ungab said the budget hearings of his committee would push through, as planned, from August 22 to September 29.

“August 19 is a holiday in Quezon City and August 21 too, is a holiday. So August 20 I think is the final date,” Ungab said.

“The committee on Appro will start hearing on Aug. 22.”

Under Article VII Section 22 of the 1987 Constitution, the President is mandated to submit to Congress a budget of expenditures and sources of financing, including receipts from existing and proposed revenue measures, “within thirty days from the opening of every regular session.”

The 18th Congress opened last July 22.

Salceda had said the House would try to pass the proposed 2020 national budget on third and final reading before October 5 or before Congress goes on a break.

READ: House aims to pass 2020 national budget before October 5

The draft budget schedule of the House, meanwhile, pegged the signing into law of the general appropriations bill by December 20.

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READ: House eyes Duterte OK of 2020 nat’l budget before Christmas

On Tuesday night, Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on rules, appealed to the 44-strong Visayan bloc to help assure the swift passage of the expenditure plan.

“We will continue to hold budget briefings so that our colleagues will have enough time to raise their concerns and interact with the economic managers and department secretaries,” Romualdez told around 50 House members, including some party-list lawmakers who want to be part of the Visayan bloc during Tuesday’s night gathering.

“We also appeal to our colleagues to avoid repetitive questions during formal budget deliberations,” he added, as he also vowed to properly scrutinize the national budget.

Duterte has approved a P4.1 trillion national budget proposal for 2020, more than 2019’s  P3.8 trillion budget.

Congress’ passage of the 2019 national budget was delayed due to bickering among legislators about alleged illegal insertions.

This led to the slow growth of the country’s gross domestic product, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia. /gsg

READ: Budget delay due to row over pork slows down growth

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TAGS: 2020 national budget, House, Isidro Ungab, NEP, Palace
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