GAB, House priority before recess

Sticking to its promise, the House of Representatives has yet again guaranteed that the 2023 General Appropriations Bill will be approved before the 19th Congress takes its first recess in October.

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe said Thursday that the lower chamber, until next week, will give its “full and undivided attention” to the approval of the P5.268 trillion National Expenditure Program for the fiscal year 2023.

The GAB, also known as House Bill 4488, has over 50 House members listed as authors.

“From now until next week, we can put our full and undivided attention to the approval of the NEP so that we can quickly move on to other equally urgent legislations,” Dalipe said.

“It is good that we have already passed the SIM card registration bill and the postponement of the barangay and SK elections,” he furthered.

The lower chamber on Monday approved House Bill 14, or “An Act Requiring The Registration of Subscriber Identity Module Cards,” which received 250 affirmative votes, six negative votes, and one abstention on its third and final reading via nominal voting.

Meanwhile, House Bill 4673, or postponing this year’s barangay and SK elections on the first Monday of December 2023, received 264 affirmatives, six negatives, and three abstentions on its third and final reading on Tuesday, also via nominal voting.

The House also approved the proposed HB 4125, or Ease of Paying Taxes Act, which, if enacted into law, would simplify the process of tax payments on the second reading.

He said, the lower chamber is committed to concluding floor and sponsorship debates by 28 September and passing the budget on 30 September.

He underscored that the rate of progress in the approval of the budget proposals of each government department has been “very satisfactory” and is within the timeline set by the House Committee on Rules. Without any hitches, Dalipe said the House is anticipated to complete floor deliberations on Wednesday to make way for the session of amendments.

“We can work until the wee hours if needed. We want to expedite the approval of the NEP so that we can also attend to the other equally important measures. We have other priority bills which we intend to pass during the 19th Congress,” said the solon.

Several House leaders, including Speaker Martin Romualdez earlier, vowed that the lower chamber would pass the national budget on the third and final reading before the 19th Congress goes on its first recess on 1 October.

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