House sets 'marathon' plenary hearings on 2020 budget


Posted at Sep 06 2019 02:41 PM

A man walks inside the session hall during the 18th Congress at the House of Representatives in Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City on Aug. 28, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- The House of Representatives will hold marathon hearings at the plenary on the 2020 national budget starting next week, a lawmaker said Friday.

The debates will start on Sept. 10 and will finish by Sept. 20, Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte told ABS-CBN in a text message.

"We are ahead of schedule because we will conduct marathon hearings starting Sept 10," Villafuerte said, adding the House was on schedule to pass the measure on third and final reading.

House Bill 4228 is pending before the House Appropriations Committee. The panel is expected to approve the committee report before endorsing it to the plenary on Monday.

President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers have repeatedly urged Congress to avoid of a repeat of the delayed passage of the 2019 budget, which clipped gross domestic product growth in the first half.

Villafuerte earlier withdrew the budget bill from the plenary due to alleged “premature” filing, prompting a warning from Committee on Appropriations chair and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab that its passage could be derailed.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano resolved the dispute and rival blocs agreed to work together to pass the budget on time, Committee of Ways and Means chairman and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda earlier told ANC.

-- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News