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Monday, March 4, 2024

Congress to work double time on priority measures

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After a two-week suspension due to the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Congress will work double time on pending priority measures as it returns to session today (Monday), Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said.

“We will tackle as many bills and resolutions as possible to make up for the time lost during the ECQ,” he said.

Congress is expecting for the submission by the executive department of the National Expenditure Program (NEP) that would contain the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, he said.

Once the NEP is received by Congress, the committee on appropriations, chaired by ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, shall begin the budget deliberations as soon as possible.

“We are ready to carry out our constitutional duty of carefully scrutinizing the NEP and eventually pass a national budget that is truly reflective and responsive to the needs of Filipinos as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives and the economy,” Velasco said.

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During the two-week lockdown period from Aug. 6 to 20, all meetings were held via videoconferencing and congressional offices were closed.

Only secretariat personnel with extremely essential tasks were allowed to report physically to the office.

Starting today, plenary sessions shall be held under a hybrid platform from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with only the Speaker or his duly designated deputies, the majority leader and minority leader or their representatives, and a limited number of Secretariat personnel physically present inside the session hall.

The rest of House members shall attend the session through videoconference.

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