The entire country is taking today off work today to commemorate the death of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., except for the House of Representatives. Despite the holiday, Congressmen reported to the Batasan Pambansa for a Majority Caucus.
From a Facebook Live posted by Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, we can see that the majority of the House is reporting to work today. The agenda is to address the priority passing of the 2020 National Budget. Considering that Monday was also a holiday for Congress due to Quezon Day, it was necessary to opt-out of another day off this week. According to Speaker Cayetano, delays in the passing of the budget mean direct economic losses for current and future generations. Thus, legislators are meeting today for an extra session to discuss priority measures.
The Department of Budget and Management submitted their proposed national budget to Speaker Cayetano and members of the House yesterday. The proposed budget is P4.1 trillion, a 12% increase since last year. Speaker Cayetano also said that the budget will be free of “parked” funds, or funds which remain unutilized, as these are a “form of corruption”. Funds in the large budget will reportedly be entirely utilized for the benefit of the Filipino people.
In his inaugural speech as the Speaker of the House for the 18th Congress, Cayetano said that he wants to reform Congress to be a “relevant, reliable, and responsive” House of the People.