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Marathon sessions ensure budget okayed on time—GMA

Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said Tuesday the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 would be approved on time as the House of Representatives had conducted marathon sessions to avoid delaying its passage.

She said the House was committed to pass the budget bill before Congress goes on a break in October.

“It is a decision to be able to comply with our legislative calendar that we have set together,” Arroyo told reporters.

She made the statement after attending the committee on justice hearing on the committee report affirming the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against the seven Supreme Court justices, including Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro.

“We wanted to pass the budget bill before we go on recess, so we can pass it to the Senate and they can finish it on time for signing before the end of the year,” Arroyo said.

The House, in plenary session, was rushing the approval of the General Appropriations Bill of 2019 as lawmakers held sessions for more than 14 hours.

Arroyo said she would not be surprised if lawmakers would work on the budget measure until the wee hours of the morning.

“I don’t find it strange because when I was Undersecretary of Trade, we also used to stay until 2 o’clock in the morning waiting for our turn. And when I was a senator, we also used to do our budget sessions until very, very late,” Arroyo said.

The House of Representatives has pledged to continue working hard under the leadership of Arroyo without getting affected by the drop in its approval rating. 

This developed as House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said the House was not distracted by the recent Pulse Asia survey results showing the House receiving a lower approval rating in September of 56 percent from June’s 66 percent.

“The survey encourages us to work double time, moving us to exert more time and effort in marshaling vital legislative measures,” Andaya said.

He said “the point of governance is the courage to do what is right without giving consideration to how it will fare in the opinion polls. 

“But more than the approval ratings, there are more important numbers in the dashboard of social and economic indicators which we must focus on like trade numbers, deficit, the consumer price index, job figures, farm output and many more.”

He said the House leadership was happy with the “majority approval rating” it got.

Andaya also said several laws had been passed, including the National Identification System and occupational safety standards.

“Legislative records also show that from Aug. 1 to Sept. 25 alone, the House approved on third and final reading 67 vital measures, 65 of which are still pending action by the Senate,” Andaya said.

Topics: Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo , House of Representatives , Chief Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro , Supreme Court
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