WITH only a few months left for the 17th Congress, lawmakers should shift to their oversight functions to ensure that measures approved are properly implemented by the executive branch.
This is according to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as she urged Congress to start reviewing how projects or programs of the administration are being implemented.
Arroyo also said that most of the legislative measures of President Rodrigo Duterte were already approved by both Houses of Congress.
“What’s important for me is what I said earlier, that we are now moving in the last months of the 17th Congress, since more of the priority bills of President Duterte are now in the final stages, we have to start moving to the oversight functions so that the implementation can be attended to,” Arroyo said in an interview, after attending the maiden public hearing of the newly-created House Committee on Disaster Management.
The House leader also said the Lower Chamber, under her leadership, would like to help the executive department focus and see the problems of implementation.
Arroyo had vowed to push for the agenda of Duterte especially those focused on the country’s economic growth.
Meanwhile, Arroyo said she is leaving the budget matter and concerns to the committee on appropriations, However she assured the public that the 2019 national budget will be passed on time.
She was supported by Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. who assured the public that Congress has enough time to approve next year’s budget.
“We would like to convey our assurance to the Senate the 2019 national budget bill will be transmitted as soon as we are done with our rigorous double-checking and verification of the thousands of line items in a spending measure that will cost taxpayers almost P3.8 trillion,” Andaya said.
“We believe that we all have sufficient time in our legislative calendar to pass the budget and send it to President Duterte before the end of the year,” he added.
Both Arroyo and Andaya reiterated their strong position against a reenacted budget because such will be hard to implement, will constrict spending, and will give wide latitude and discretion to the executive on what projects to implement.
“We are committed to a budget that will be 100 percent compliant with the rules of Congress, with all the laws on budgeting, and with the jurisprudence on appropriations,” Andaya said.