THE minority bloc in the House of Representatives will lead the revived committee on oversight that is tasked to assess the performance of various government agencies and its failure to spend public funds amounting to billions of pesos.
The bloc’s leader, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, said Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had named him chairman of the panel that was abolished during the Aquino administration.
“I will have to take the chairmanship of the oversight. We will be busy,” Suarez told reporters, adding the panel will be composed of the entire members of the minority bloc.
Suarez said his oversight committee will monitor and evaluate the performance of government agencies.
Rep. Lito Atienza will be the vice chairman of the oversight committee, Suarez said.
Atienza cited the case of the unspent P30 billion of the Department of Tourism and other agencies that could have been used to create jobs.
“Congress badly needs an oversight committee. For instance, the Department of Tourism had P30 billion in unused funds for 2017 that should have been used for the massive cleanup of water bodies,” Atienza said.
The plenary is expected to formalize Suarez’s appointment as the new head of the House committee on oversight as soon as it gets done with the deliberations on the 2019 national budget.
Suarez, meanwhile, said his committee on oversight will give priority to the review of the performance of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Customs by looking at Republic Act 9335, or the Lateral Attrition Law to ensure that government-collecting agencies will be able to meet their targets.
The Lateral Attrition Act provides for a system of reward and punishment for officials and employees of the Customs and Internal Revenue who meet or fail to meet their target revenues.
Suarez, a former chairman of the House committee on oversight during the 14th Congress, said the revival of the panel would further promote transparency and accountability under the Duterte administration.
“The principle of checks and balances is embedded in our Constitution to ensure that there will be no abuse of power and to correct the mistakes or excesses committed by the other branches of the government,” Suarez said.