Philippines: Senate sends 2019 budget to Duterte

  • THE BICAMERAL DEADLOCK over the 2019 national budget ended on 26 Mar 19 as Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III announced that he has signed, with “reservations,” and transmitted the spending plan to Malacañang.
  • His reservations – in a note attached to the measure – focused on post-ratification changes made by the House of Representatives.
  • In his note attached to the national budget transmitted to Malacañang, Mr. Sotto said his signature on the measure was limited to the items approved by the Senate and House in the bicameral conference committee and subsequently ratified.
  • “In particular, it is my view that it is unconstitutional that PHP75bn worth of programs/projects under the Local Infrastructure Program of the Department of Public Works and Highways was funded through internal realignments after the Bicameral Conference Committee Report was ratified,” the Senate leader stated in his note.
  • He said in his note that Mr. Duterte “may wish to consider disapproving” the questionable provisions by vetoing them.
  • It was the idea of the Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon for Mr. Sotto to sign the national budget and to attach his reservations, according to Senator Panfilo M. Lacson in the same briefing.
  • Mr. Sotto said the Senate has transmitted to Malacañang the version of the national budget with the changes made by the House of Representatives, leaving President Rodrigo R. Duterte to decide on the provisions questioned by senators.
  • Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement that Mr. Duterte would scrutinize the national budget before signing it.
  • Sources said the Senate budged on its stand during 26 Mar 19’s negotiations as the two panels agreed to “respect and accept the realignments and changes in the budget each chamber has made.”
  • The entire PHP75bn has been realigned, though PHP46.4bn of it was retained with the DPWH no longer as a DBM insertion but as part of the lawmakers’ pork barrel.
  • Of the PHP46.4bn, the congressmen’s share amounts to PHP20.7bn, while senators have more than PHP25bn.

External Link: https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Duterte-to-sign-budget-bill-as-Philippine-lawmakers-break-impasse

External Link: https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/03/27/1904935/senate-house-agree-retain-pork-budget

External Link: https://www.bworldonline.com/senate-sends-2019-budget-to-duterte/

27-Mar-2019


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