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Andaya to Senate: We have until May to pass 2019 national budget

MANILA, Philippines — If the Senate is serious in passing the 2019 national budget, both chambers of Congress have until May this year to do so, House appropriations panel chair Rolando Andaya Jr. said Saturday.

“If the Senate is indeed serious in enacting a General Appropriations Act for 2019, we have until May this year to complete our task,” the Camarines Sur representative said in a statement.

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“Both chambers will resume legislative session on May 20 until June 7. That is our last chance to pass the national budget,” he added.

Until now, the proposed P3.8 trillion 2019 budget has yet to be signed by the President.

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Senators have been calling to maintain the ratified version of the budget bill with lump-sum appropriations while the House wants to pass the budget that they have itemized after both chambers has ratified it.

 

READ: After months of delay, Congress finally ratifies 2019 budget

With this, Andaya said he is hopeful that Senate will have a “change of heart” on passing the budget that was itemized by the House.

“I am still hopeful that the senators will have a change of heart,” Andaya said. “Line-item budgeting is our response to the people’s demand for transparency and accountability in the national budget.”

Andaya said the ratified budget contained lump-sum funds, which are prone to corruption.

“Lump-sum funds are more prone to corruption and violate many tenets of transparent expenditure of public funds,” he said.

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The House budget bill was already transmitted to the Senate for the signature of the Senate President.

Andaya said the bill was also sent to Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management for their “information and so that they will have a proper appreciation of the issues at hand based on an official document and not from uninformed innuendoes.”

 

READ: Sotto: Modified budget bill contains P96B House realignments

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, however, maintained that he would not sign the budget bill with the House amendments as it would violate the Revised Penal Code and the Constitution.

 

READ: Sotto: Senate open to special session to break budget impasse

But Andaya says he is still hopeful that Senate would not allow a reenacted budget.

“The House of Representatives is against a reenacted budget at this point in time. I hope the Senate shares this sentiment,” he said.  /muf

 

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