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Cayetano to peers: House will consider budget amendments ‘with open minds, ears’

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With the passage of the proposed 2020 budget on final reading on Friday at the House of Representatives, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano urged his colleagues to submit their individual as well as institutional amendments to the General Appropriations Bill.

“I enjoin our colleagues to submit your amendments and as we are gracious enough to talk to Secretaries about concerns regarding our districts, yet as policy questions, I ask you now today, to also file your version of institutional amendments, just like Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda has submitted to my office,” he said in a speech after the passage of the bill.

The House passed the budget bill on Friday night, voting 257-6.

Institutional amendments refer to changes made to the budgets of national agencies, while individual amendments usually refer to realignments of funds for particular districts.

So far, according to Cayetano, “there seems to be a consensus that we should add to the P7 billion fund to buy palay to help our farmers.”

“Sid Ungab has already found P3 billion to add to 10 but we would like to go higher than P10 billion. But yung pandagdag ng pambili ng palay ay balewala din kung hindi kumprehensibo ang ating approach sa family size farming and making this type of farming and agrarian reform effective in our country,” he said.

“Education and health need much more fund and fine-tuning of their programs. Electrifcation, ilang taon na natin naririning yung 100 percent na electrification ng buong Pilipinas. Ilang taon na rin tayong nakukuryente. So please submit your amendments regarding 100% electrification of our country,” he said.

“So with an open mind and with open ears, whether we voted yes or no, let us submit these amendments, let us talk, and criticize yes, but let us come up with alternatives. Kahit ano pong ganda ng kritisismo, kung wala pong alternatibo na maganda, wala ding mangyayari,” Cayetano said.

“So that’s why this 18th Congress, with open ears, and open mind, we will accept and look at each and every amendment with consensus,” he said.

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