House to get additional P1.6-B for research, facilities

MANILA � House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said the additional PHP1.6 billion for the 2020 budget of the House of Representatives will be used to enhance legislative research, improve the chamber's facilities, and establish new committees.

Cayetano made the clarification following reports that the House is seeking augmentation of its proposed PHP14-billion 2020 budget for additional deputy speakers.

"For the past two days, may mga nangungulit about, actually fake news 'yung nasa isang blogger na sinabi niyang we added PHP1.6 billion for the 22 deputy speakers (there are people persistently asking about [a report], [which is] actually fake news by a certain blogger claiming that we added PHP1.6 billion for the 22 deputy speakers)," Cayetano said during an event by the Congressional Spouses Foundation Inc.

"We used to have 14 deputy speakers, we now have 22, if we're going to add PHP1.6-billion for additional 8 deputy speakers, that's PHP200 million for deputy speaker... Asaan 'yung PHP200 million para sa distrito, para sa mga tao kung maniniwala ka doon? (Where then is the PHP200 million for the district and for the people, if you were to believe that claim?)," he added.

The Speaker said the additional funding would be allotted to boost the chamber's Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department.

The said body provides ideas, policy advice, technical assistance, and information support in the formulation and oversight of socio-economic legislation that promotes sustained inclusive growth.

"The PHP1.6-billion, first, is to enhance research, hindi puwedeng nakikipagdebate tayo dito na 'yung executive o 'yung mga industriya kumpleto sa research tapos tayo hindi (we can't engage in debates with the executive branch and industry players backed with complete research)," Cayetano said.

"So we are going to strengthen the congressional planning and budget office, and put up some fellowships para 'yung ibang (so that other) professors can also help us," he added.

Cayetano said he also wants to enhance the House facilities by adding more elements of the country's culture and history to encourage more visitors and make it "pro-people".

"That's another thing that the funds are for, to improve the facilities so that the House of Representatives is the House of the People, we want field trips to come here rather than the noontime shows na lang (only). They learn something from noontime show, but they can learn much more here if we make this facility pro-people," he said.

Cayetano said the last area for funding is for the creation of new committees.

"Let me just assure you, that you will see a different kind of House of Representatives, one that is very accountable, one na walang takipan sa mga problema, at (one that will not cover up problems and) corruption. But also one that will provide resources to each and every congressman, and committee needed to be able to do your job," he said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency