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Why Belmonte resorted to ‘text brigade’

Sep 28, 2015 @ 0:40

The perennial lack of quorum forced House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. to lead a massive text brigade to compel House members to attend the two-week marathon plenary deliberations on the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016.

An exasperated Belmonte admitted that this is the first time a call to quorum among the 289 elected lawmakers was done via a text blast.

“A text brigade has been made to remind our colleagues to attend the remaining sessions in the next two weeks. Let us all be there to show support to approve the national budget for next year,” he said in a Manila Bulletin article.

Belmonte has earlier vowed to pass the proposed 2016 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) before Congress goes on almost three-week Halloween recess from October 10 to November 2.

The plenary session will start at 1:30 pm on September 28 and resume the following day until the next week’s approval of the budget on second reading.

Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said they are targeting to approve the Executive’s budget proposal before the scheduled filing of certificates of candidacy (COC) on October 12 to 16 for the May 9, 2016 polls.

“We would like to encourage our colleagues to actively participate in the deliberations, as we will allow free and full debates on the proposed national budget for 2016. We hope to approve the national budget on second reading by October 9,” Ungab said.

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