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June 17, 2024 Jester P. Manalastas 83 views

THE House of Representatives will prioritize the approval of the 2025 national budget after the 19th Congress opens its third and last regular session.

This is according to Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez adding that the national spending program is the most important piece of legislation Congress passes each year.

Responding to a question from reporters, he said, “Ay syempre naman yung budget, kasi pagkatapos ng SONA, isusumite na naman ‘yung budget sa 2025 kaya dun na lang ‘yung kasunduan na lang pinag-uusapan natin ng House of Representatives.”

The Marcos administration is planning to propose a record-high P6.2 trillion national budget for next year.

This year’s outlay amounts to P5.768 trillion.

The 19th Congress opens its third and last session on July 22.

Speaker Romualdez was interviewed after witnessing the distribution by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of financial aid under the agency’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa ating Disadvantaged at Displaced Workers (TUPAD) in Tiaong, Quezon last Friday.

He said Congress would continue to fund the workers’ assistance program.

“Nakikita ko napakaganda itong programa na ginagawa ng DOLE na TUPAD payout para sa mga magsasaka. Nakita mo naman masayang-masaya, masigla talaga ang ating beneficiaries…kaya itutuloy din natin itong programa sa susunod na budget, kaya ito ang gusto talaga ng taong-bayan,” he said.

As for the proposed amendments to the Rice Tariffication Law he hoped would bring down rice prices, the House leader said the House and the Senate are close to agreeing on the proposals.

“On going po (ang discussion) at mukhang nagkakasunduan na ang House at ang Senate at mukhang malapit na. Matatapos din at magkakaroon tayo ng magandang resolusyon,” he said.

The suggested changes in the law seek to reinstate the palay-buying and rice-selling mandate of the National Food Authority (NFA) so the agency could influence rice prices in the retail market.

Speaker Romualdez has said the recent decision of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to reduce rice import tariff from 35 percent to 15 percent and direct rice sales to consumers would significantly bring down the price of the staple.