MANILA, Philippines – Deliberations for next year’s budget at the House committee level will start on August 22 so that Congress can pass the budget on time, said Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles.
Nograles, who was recently named chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, urged his fellow lawmakers to maintain the timely passage of the national budget, which was a practice during the time of former president Benigno Aquino III.
“Nobody in the House wants a reenacted budget. So with that in mind, we have the same take. Let us help each other,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Next week, Nograles will be meeting with Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Benjamin Diokno to discuss the 2017 budget.
“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,” Nograles said.
The DBM earlier said that it will pass its proposed P3.35-trillion budget to Congress by August 15. This amount is 11% higher than 2016’s P3.002-trillion budget – the country’s biggest national budget to date.
The new appropriations committee chair also said that the House leadership has committed to prioritize the organization of his panel to avoid time constraints in passing the budget.
Currently, Nograles is the only member of the committee, which should be composed of 125 members, including the vice chairmen.
“Time is of the essence. We do not want a reenacted budget. Priority po kami dahil priority ang budget (We are the priority because budget is priority),” said the lawmaker.
Meanwhile, he also clarified that there will be no changes in the procedure of budget hearings in the 17th Congress because the lawmakers are already used to it. “It will be easier, faster, it’s more efficient that way.” – Rappler.com