Philippines: Senate sets end Jan 19 as deadline for budget approval

  • The Senate will seek to ratify the PHP3.757tr national budget for 2019 within two weeks after resuming session next week after Malacañang called on Congress to pass the measure “at the soonest possible time.”
  • Presidential spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo warned Congress on 07 Jan 19, that further delays in passing the national budget will affect the release of funds for the salary increases of soldiers, policemen, teachers, and civilian employees of government. He also urged Congress to set aside “partisan considerations” and to focus its attention on the general appropriations bill (GAB), or the national budget.
  • Failure to pass the bill before the end of 2018 resulted in a re-enacted budget in 2019, which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has warned that it may lead to delays in the government’s implementation of new public works project.
  • Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, one of the vice chairs of the Senate committee on finance, pointed out Senate was not “playing partisan politics,” but rather it was closely examining the national budget to get rid of “unreasonable appropriations.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said the salary increase of government workers should not be used as a “bargaining chip” to put pressure on Congress to rush the approval of the 2019 national budget.
  • “Given the controversies surrounding the proposed 2019 budget, it behooves us in the Senate to really dig deeper and scrutinize each and every item in the budget,” he said in a statement issued on 8 Jan 19.

External Link: