Hearings on P5.7 trillion proposed budget to be transparent – Romualdez
MANILA, Philippines — The deliberations on the proposed P 5.7 trillion national budget for 2024 will be transparent, even if President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has certified as urgent the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Thursday.
With Marcos’ certification, House can do away with the requirement of waiting three session days to pass first before a bill, that has been approved on second reading, can be considered for third reading.
The presidential endorsement to allows lawmakers to approve GAB on second and third reading on the same day.
“We will continue to uphold the principles of accountability, inclusivity, and efficiency throughout the budget deliberations,” Romualdez said.
“The House of Representatives stands united in its commitment to pass the 2024 national budget and support the government’s initiatives aimed at promoting economic growth, social development, and the well-being of every Filipino,” he added.
The Speaker says the President’s move enables Congress to review the proposed budget without worrying that the bill might not be approved before the chamber goes into a session break by September 30.
House will resume its session on November 6.
Romualdez’ statement came after minority lawmaker and ACT Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro criticized the certification from the Chief Executive.
She said the President’s action is only meant to bypass or fast-track important debates.
In a statement, Castro explained in the past hearings in Congress, debates at the plenary level took over ten days at least.
This timetable was significantly longer than the seven days scheduled by House committee on appropriations.
Plenary debates on the P5.7 trillion proposed budget, as stipulated in House Bill Number 8980, started last Tuesday.
According to appropriations senior vice chairperson and Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo, the chamber intends to approve the GAB on third reading by Wednesday, September 27.