Newly-elected lawmakers poised to start their first term in the 18th Congress learned more about the budget process as well as their function and role in the House at the second day of the House of Representatives Executive Course on Legislation.
The day kicked off with a discussion led by former Davao City Representative and now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles about the budget process with an emphasis on the legislative system.
Nograles warned that the budget process will be a “baptism of fire” for the neophytes, because discussions on the 2020 national budget will begin as soon as the 18th Congress opens.
The Palace official explained that the budget is how the administration enables its policies to be operationalized and implemented.
“This clearly defines what the policy of the administration is.”
“The budget actually puts our money where our mouth is. Kahit anong polisiya ang sinasabi ng isang administration, kung hindi mo naman sinusuportahan ng budget iyan, that’s just empty rhetoric. So literally, this clearly defines what the policy of the administration is. Pag sinabing Build Build Build, put your money where your mouth is. Kasi otherwise, puro kwentuhan lang iyan,” he said.
Nograles also stressed the role of the House in ensuring that budget is passed on time and that the development and growth of the country remain on track.
“You play the major role.”
“Importante kay Pangulo na maipasa natin ang budget on time kasi alam naman natin ang mangyayari kung hindi on time ang pagpasa ng budget. Magkakaroon ito ng effect sa economic growth ng bansa,” he said.
“Of course you play the major role, because you have the constitutional duty to pass a General Appropriations Act every year. And like I said, pag hindi kayo nakapasa ng budget on time, then you will have a reenacted budget,” Nograles added.
Meanwhile, Rep. Miro Quimbo (2nd District, Marikina City), a former Deputy Speaker, tackled the committees in the House—their functions, responsibilities, and contributions to legislative and nonlegislative mandates of the House. He also gave advice on how to navigate the legislative process with the support of the House Secretariat.
“You have to pick your spots. If you step on the toes of too many people, you’re bound to get into the crosshairs of the leadership. So konting ingat din, konting ingat at maging sensitive tayo,” Quimbo said.
He also reminded the incoming Representatives to respect the House Secretariat and turn to it for guidance and support.
“You have to give respect and then you have to talk to the Committee Secretary. Ang ComSec, sila ang institusyon diyan. Tayo, we’re fleeting here. Panandalian lang tayo. Pero ang mga ComSec, iyong Bureau Directors at Deputy Secretaries-General, sila ang may pinaka may alam diyan. Huwag kayong mag dunung-dunungan. Magtanong kayo sa kanila,” Quimbo said.
“Always talk to them. That’s how I’ve managed to pass many potentially controversial bills, because of the help ng ating Secretariat,” he added.
The last lecture of the day was delivered by former Mandaluyong Representative Neptali Gonzales II on the House Parliamentary Rules and Procedures.
“So what’s the purpose of the rules? Of course, to establish order… How do you put order in an otherwise disorderly na assembly and at times anarchical without the rules to speak of in the first place?” Gonzales asked.
The former Majority Leader further said that having a firm knowledge of the rules will set the fledgling lawmakers on the right path.
“My advice to you, because you might be overwhelmed at kabahan ka at hindi ka na makapagsalita from day one up to the end of your term, is that the first opportunity you will have, you try to participate in floor discussion. And if you want to do so, my advice to you is study the rules,” he stressed.