Duterte thanked for keeping hands off budget process

February 09, 2019
Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

SPEAKER Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for respecting the independence of the House of Representatives especially during the proposed 2019 budget deliberations.

In her adjournment speech, Speaker Arroyo said the proposed 2019 budget is probably the most dissected budget in the past few decades and the President Duterte respected the constitutional mandate of the House and the Senate.

Speaker Arroyo said this only means that President Duterte has high regard for the lawmakers concerning transparency and accountability in the budget process.

“We also appreciate President Duterte for respecting the constitutional mandate of the House and the Senate in the budget process. His cognizance of the need for transparency and accountability during his watch, served as a beacon of guidance and inspiration for us all,” the House leader said.

“As a former Chief Executive myself, I am well aware of how much can be achieved by a close, constructive partnership between an elected President and the elected representatives of the people,” she added.

Congress goes on a two-month break to give way to the campaign period that will start February 13.

Session  is to resume on May 20.

She also congratulated the Senate for passing the budget as she called its passage a “joint achievement” of both houses.

“Both the House and the Senate should be congratulated for passing the budget in a process characterized by hard work and collective wisdom. The two bodies worked independently, but in harmony, in scrutinizing the budget, so in the end, it is a joint achievement,” she stated.

Speaker Arroyo also thanked her colleagues for their tireless effort to pass meaningful legislation during her speakership especially the priority bills of President Duterte.

“I hope that our beloved Juan and Juana de la Cruz will be gratified to hear that since last December, every one of the President’s priority bills as enunciated in his 2018 state of the nation address has been duly acted upon by this body. Let the critics carp, but I am hopeful that our people shall know that this 17th Congress has been hard at work for the people who dutifully and thoughtfully marked ballots in May 2016 to mandate our presence here,” she stated.

These bills include the Organic Law for Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, Coconut Farmers & Industry Development Act, Rice in the Agricultural Tariffication Act, Enhanced Universal Healthcare Act, Amnesty Program – General Tax and Estate Tax Amnest, Revision of the Constitution, National Land Use Act, Department of Disaster Resilience, End of Endo/Contractualization Act, TRAIN 2 – Trabaho Bill, Mining Law, Increase on the Excise Tax on Tobacco Products, Real Property Valuation and Assessment, Traffic and Congestion Crisis Act, Reform in Capital Income and Financial Taxes and Increasing and Restructuring the Excise Tax Rates on Alcohol

During the recess, Speaker Arroyo said she will continue with the oversight hearings to make sure that the laws made by Congress are properly implemented.

“Our oversight committee hearings shall continue during the three month campaign recess chaired by the several congressmen who are either not running for any post in May or are running unopposed. When we return from the campaign recess, we will go back to legislation. We expect several of the bills we have passed on third reading to be acted on by the Senate in the last month of the 17th Congress. In that case there will be bicameral conferences and reports to be ratified,” she said.