Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday repeated her assurance that the leadership of the House of Representatives will not allow a reenacted budget.
“I do not think [there will be a reenacted budget next year]. I do not think so,” Arroyo told reporters.
She made the statement when asked about the possibility of a reenacted budget after the House of Representatives failed during the first week of the resumption of its session to approve the P3.757-trillion national budget on third and final reading.
Compostela Valley Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora, the main plenary sponsor of the national budget and a senior vice chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said the House would likely pass House Bill 8169, the national budget, on third and final reading next week.
Zamora said the small committee tasked to resolve the amendments on the national budget was aiming to finish their work to set the stage for the bill’s final approval.
“By the third week of November, we can have the third and final reading approval [of the national budget],” Zamora said.
“Unfortunately, we’re still in the thick of the amendments. Due to the volume of the amendments requested and agreed upon during the debates over HB 8169 alone, combined with the different agencies’ concerns, we’re still going through items. We are targeting finishing this week and then the budget will be readied for printing.”
House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said the congressmen tasked to review the 2019 national budget were now finalizing the contents of the measure.
“We would like to convey our assurance to the Senate that the 2019 national budget bill will be transmitted as soon as we are done with our rigorous double-checking and verification of the thousands of line items in a spending measure that will cost taxpayers almost P3.8 trillion,” Andaya said.
“We believe that we all have sufficient time in our legislative calendar to pass the budget and send it to President [Rodrigo] Duterte before the end of the year.
“We are reiterating our strong position against a reenacted budget because such will be hard to implement, will constrict spending, and will give wide latitude and discretion to the Executive on what projects to implement.
“We are committed to a budget that will be 100 percent compliant with the rules of Congress, with all the laws on budgeting, and with the jurisprudence on appropriations.”
The House failed to approve the 2019 budget bill following the discovery of the supposed P52-billion insertions allegedly by the previous House leadership. That prompted Arroyo to realign the billions in funds to specific projects to ensure the “equitable and fair distribution of funds.”