Wednesday, 28 June 2017
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P3.3-TRILLION | Budget Hearings to start on August 22

Batasan Pambansa FacadeHOR COMPLEX, Quezon City (DWDD) – The chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations has expressed hope that his panel can already start the hearings on the proposed national budget for 2017 on August 22 to ensure its timely approval before the year ends.

Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City) said he was given assurance by the House leadership to prioritize the organization of the Committee on Appropriations, which has jurisdiction over the national budget whose approval cannot be delayed.

“Hopefully by Aug. 22, we can already start our hearings on the national budget. Hopefully by that time, we’ve been fully organized in the Committee on Appropriations. We have an assurance from the House leadership that it will prioritize our committee organization because of time constraints. Time is of the essence. We do not want a reenacted budget. Priority po kami dahil priority ang budget,” said Nograles.

The appropriations committee, which has 125 members, still has no vice chairmen and members. “So far, I am the only member of the committee,” said Nograles who was elected committee chairman in the plenary last week.

In a press release dated July 6, 2016, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said it would submit the proposed 2017 national budget of about P3.3 trillion to Congress on August 15.

In another DBM press release dated July 16, 2016, DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the budgets for 2017 until 2022 will support the President’s promise to improve the country’s infrastructure, invest in human resources, modernize agriculture and rural development, and develop lagging regions.

The DBM also said “For Fiscal Year 2017, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte a total obligation budget of P3.35 trillion to be proposed to Congress. The 2017 budget is higher by 11.6 percent than the current year’s budget of P3.002 trillion. As a percentage of GDP, the 2017 budget represents 20.4 percent compared this year’s 20.1 percent of GDP.”

Nograles said next week, they will schedule a meeting with Diokno to discuss the 2017 national budget.

“I have not yet met with Budget Secretary Diokno. You know, I have just been elected on the floor, so we haven’t actually met about the budget. I have not seen yet the proposed budget. We will schedule next week a meeting with Secretary Diokno,” said Nograles.

As to the budget hearings procedure under the 17th Congress, Nograles said there are no expected changes to it. “It would be the same process as before, kasi nakasanayan na ng mga miyembro natin sa House. It will be easier, faster, it’s more efficient that way. So no major changes in terms of procedure,” said Nograles.

He said he expects the House of Representatives to be supportive in creating and legislating a budget that will respond to the needs of his fellow Filipinos.

He urged everyone concerned to help each other during the entire budget process to avoid delays and a reenactment of the budget. “Nobody in the House wants a reenacted budget. So with that in mind, we have the same take. So magtutulungan na lang tayo,” said Nograles.

Nograles said the House is ready to work overtime to finish the budget hearings and approve it on plenary on time.

“We are pressed for time. Kami naman mga Kongresista kung kailangang pagpuyatan, nagpupuyat naman kami. Wala namang problema sa overtime, wala naman pong problema kung kailangang pagpuyatan yan, ready naman kami. We’ve always shown to the Filipino people that when the times call for it, when we need to step up, when we need to work overtime, we do it. Ginagawa naman po namin,” said Nograles. CONGRESS / MCAG

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