AFTER a month of deliberations, the House Committee on Appropriations is now putting final touches to the proposed 2017 national budget amounting to P3.35 trillion.
Chairman of the committee Davao City Rep. Alexei Nograles said the start of the plenary presentation and deliberation of the budget is set on September 27.
Nograles announced that starting next week, the committee will conduct pre-plenary briefings for select departments and agencies.
The solon expressed hopes that all issues about the proposed budget for every department, including the concerns of some congressmen which were not addressed by agency representatives during the first round of appropriations hearings, will be ironed out and tweaked during the pre-plenary conferences.
“What we want is to bring everything on the table to iron out all the problems before we present the budget for plenary deliberations. This is President Duterte’s maiden budget and I hope that we can really fast-track the process so that we can move on to other pressing legislative matters such as the proposed constitutional change and the fight against endo,” Nograles said.
Among the agencies that will conduct pre-plenary conferences are the Department of Agriculture, the National Food Authority, the Pasig Rehabilitation Commission, the Metro Manila Development Authority and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
Meanwhile Nograles said that even the Department of Social Welfare and Developnment (DSWD) budget which he expected to face some kind of resistance breezed through the pre-plenary conference.
“I just hope this will hold true with other departments,” Nograles said.
Nograles said that he does not foresee any major change in the allocations submitted by Malacanang.
“I’m hoping our colleagues recognize the urgent need to have a solid expenditure program to finance the president’s reform agenda, and allow a smooth and trouble-free approval of the national budget,” Nograles said.