House Appropriations Committee Chairman, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles expressed confidence that the deliberations for the 2019 national budget would continue smoothly despite the ongoing transition in the House leadership.
According to Nograles, the transition team formed by newly-installed House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is working hard to ensure the smooth transfer of leadership and assumption of duties.
The legislator from Davao also revealed that the proposed 2019 National Expenditure Program has already been submitted by Malacañang to the House of Representatives. The expenditure details spelled out in the NEP will serve as the basis for the budget hearings scheduled to go full swing on July 31.
Nograles expects Arroyo’s office to soon hand down the NEP to the Appropriations panel, which he has led since the start of the 17th Congress in July 2016.
“May proseso eh. [The NEP] has to go to the Office of the Speaker, and the Office of the Speaker has to give it to the Appro Committee. We’ll go through the proper channels. The procedural channels, we will follow. Sundan lang namin yung procedure. Kaya nga gusto namin yung smooth transition para maganda naman, proper lahat,” he said.
On Monday, 184 House members voted in favor of replacing Davao del Norte Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez with Arroyo, who represents Pampanga and, like Nograles, is a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Arroyo subsequently created a transition team composed of Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro (Capiz), Raneo Abu (Batangas), Miro Quimbo (Marikina); Deputy Majority Leader Arthur Defensor Jr. (Iloilo); and Economic Affairs Chairman Arthur Yap (Bohol).
Nograles said that among the immediate tasks of the transition team was to ensure the immediate ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), nominating a new Majority Floor Leader to act as Arroyo’s right-hand man, and formally handing over the reins to the new Speaker.
This also includes submitting the NEP to the Appropriations Committee as soon as possible.
“That’s why we want to fix it now. Nene-negotiate naman namin na maging maayos ang lahat,” he said.
The House already ratified the BOL during Tuesday’s session, while the Majority Floor Leader’s identity will be revealed very soon.
The Nograles panel is tasked with looking for sources of funds to finance the implementation of government programs, including those aimed at benefiting probinsyanos and improving the quality of their lives.
Nograles had earlier vowed to champion the cause of Filipinos living outside the nation’s capital once talks on the 2019 budget begin during the current third regular sessions. There has been no reenacted budget under Nograles’s watch.