House, DBM eye close coordination to speed up budget process

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is seeking closer coordination between the House of Representatives and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for a smoother process in the preparation and approval of the annual national budget.

In a statement on Tuesday, Cayetano said the executive and legislative branches should work together in putting together the annual budget through consultations before the formal submission of the budget to Congress.

That is what we want to do and that is what Budget Secretary (Wendel) Avisado wants to do even before the President submits the budget to Congress, there is consultation with the proper committees of both the House and the Senate, instead of them preparing it and the House revising it and the Senate doing its own revision, Cayetano said.

Cayetano said the proposal would also reduce the possibility of President Rodrigo Duterte vetoing certain provisions in the Congress-approved spending measure.

In April last year, President Duterte signed the 2019 appropriations law after deleting PHP95-billion worth of alleged pork insertions made by the previous House leadership.

To avert another scenario of a reenacted budget, senators and congressmen comprising the bicameral conference committee approved on Dec. 11, 2019, the final version of the PHP4.1-trillion national budget bill for 2020.

The President signed the 2020 appropriations bill last Jan. 6.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, said the planned prior consultation with members of Congress in the preparation of the national budget is consistent with the constitutional mandate that the power of the purse lies with the legislature.

It will hasten consideration of the President's budget proposal not only in the House Committee on Appropriations but in plenary as well, Romualdez said.

Remember that the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the 2020 national budget in record time on Sept. 20, 2019. Historically, the proposed national budget is approved in the House of Representatives not earlier than October, he added.

Romualdez said the speed at which the 2020 national budget was approved is unprecedented.

The House leadership under Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano just needed only 20 working days to finish the job in approving a pork-free and bereft of any illegal parking of funds and insertions' national budget, Romualdez said.

Our focus right now is to work hard in legislation and pass all the measures needed to improve the living condition of our people. That is the marching order from the President, he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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