Cayetano: Transparency OK but we don’t want to make budget bicam a circus
MANILA, Philippines — “We’re not afraid of transparency but we don’t want to make the bicameral conference committee hearing (bicam) a circus.”
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has this to say on Thursday on Senator Panfilo Lacson’s proposal to make the bicam on the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 budget public.
While he did not categorically say whether he will support the proposal or not, Cayetano said the move could result in a delay of the budget’s passage due to the possible deluge of budget proposals from the public.
“We have to be very realistic on how we can get the job done.. Kapag na-live mo at ginawang open ang bicam, ang mangyayari diyan, maraming magpe-play to the media, play to the gallery, rather than pag-usapan talaga paano ang isang budget na kaya natin,” he told reporters in an interview.
(When you make the bicam live and open to the public, many will play into the media, play into the gallery rather than really talk about the budget.)
“Gagawin mo ngang open to the media (ang bicam), eh February, March, April, wala pa naman tayong budget na naipa-pasa. What good is the budget?” he added.
(You will have to make the bicam open to the media but it’s already February, March, April and we don’t have a passed budget yet. What good is the budget?)
On Tuesday, Lacson said he wanted the bicam to be open to the public as bicameral meetings are sometimes done behind closed doors.
He also proposed that lawmakers make public online their proposed amendments to the 2020 budget to dispel suspicions that these are tainted with pork.
The Senate would have to formalize first the proposal to make the bicam public before the House will consider it, Cayetano said.
He added that the move will also have to be discussed first by Sen. Sonny Angara, the Finance committee chairperson, and House appropriations committee chairperson Rep. Isidro Ungab.
In any case, Cayetano said that the House will “support measures to make it transparent, to make everything transparent.”
The Senate and the House of Representatives convened the bicameral conference committee to reconcile the disagreeing provisions in a proposed measure. This is usually done after both chambers approve their versions of the bill.
At present, the 2020 budget is still being deliberated upon by the Senate at the committee level.
Cayetano earlier appealed to the Senate to pass their version of the 2020 budget bill by November so that the bicam could be started by first week of December. /jpv
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