MANILA - Leyte Rep.-elect Martin Romualdez on Wednesday met with President Rodrigo Duterte in a private dinner amid an apparent tight race for the House leadership.
This after the ruling party PDP-Laban endorsed Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for the speakership.
Romualdez, a leader of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and among those vying for House Speaker, said he assured the chief executive of a united House of Representatives and the speedy passage of the President's priority bills, especially the 2020 national budget.
“I told the President that my fellow congressmen, even before Congress opens session on July 22, have begun working on the measures that need to discussed ASAP,” he said.
“They also agreed to set aside politics and pool resources together to provide adequate funding for the President’s pet programs and projects that have direct impact on our people’s lives. This includes the ambitious Build, Build, Build Program which the President wants completed and set in place before the end of his term in 2022."
Romualdez said he had told Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez that lawmakers would approve the 2020 national budget by October.
He also assured that the budget will be "as fair and as equitable as the President mandates."
This year's budget was delayed by wrangling among lawmakers over supposed insertions, which forced the government to run on a reenacted 2018 budget for nearly 4 months.
Among the priority measures lawmakers are expected to tackle are the Coco Levy Act, the Department of Disaster and Resilience, the second package of tax reform, excise tax on alcohol products, federalism, and the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).