He said as an initial step, he recently sought a meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III to find ways to tighten the coordination between the lawmakers and the economic managers.
“An overwhelming number of congressmen elected in the 18th Congress are supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte and his legislative agenda, Romualdez said.
“Number one on the list of priority bills, of course, is the General Appropriations Bill for the year 2020.”
Romualdez is president of the Philippine Constitution Association and of the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats and is among the leading bets for the speakership race in the House.
“In consultation with my colleagues in the 18th Congress, all of them have agreed to work double time to ensure that the House of Representatives will approve the [GAB] General Appropriations Bill before November,’’ Romualdez said.
“Our mission in the House is to pass the GAB in October and give the Senate until early December to act on it. Then, we can both approve the General Appropriations Act before the Christmas break.”
Romualdez said he saw the need for the participation and a more open line with the Duterte administration’s economic managers to be able to have a clear picture of the President’s 2020 budget.
“We need to be in sync―Congress and the economic managers. This would avoid any miscommunication that may cause a delay in the deliberations of the proposed national budget,’’ Romualdez said.
“That is why I am exerting all efforts to tighten the communication line and coordination between the congressmen and our economic managers. We really need a cohesive working relationship to meet our self-imposed deadlines.”
After receipt of the President’s Budget, Romualdez said congressmen may have to spend 30 days or until late August to deliberate on the NEP through committee actions. These include briefing and hearings of the Mother Committee, pre-plenary, and approval of the Committee report. The Committee Report, according to Romualdez, needs to be ready for plenary deliberation by September so that the House can approve it on second and third reading before Congress breaks in October. “The Senate, I understand, begins its committee deliberation on the NEP even as early as August so they have plenty of time for plenary deliberation between November and early December,” the Leyte solon pointed out.
“That schedule will give us plenty of time for bicameral discussion on the budget. If both Houses can ratify the bicameral report before the Christmas break, the President can sign the budget before the year ends,” he added.
Romualdez, an incoming four-term congressman, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the Ivy League school, in Cornell University, and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University. He also earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines.
One of the laws passed by Romualdez was Republic Act No. 10754, which exempts more than 1.5-million persons with disabilities from the payment of 12-percent value added tax on certain goods and services. It was enacted during the time of former President Aquino.
READ: ‘Romualdez shoo-in as speaker’
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