Senate begins plenary debates on 2019 national budget
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday began its plenary deliberations on the proposed P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, less than a month before the year ends.
Although pressed for time, Senate Committee on Finance Chair Senator Loren Legarda ensured that the Senate will nevertheless perform its “duty to pass a budget that is geared towards our collective desire to provide our people with programs and services that would usher in personal growth, community development and national progress.”
This as Legarda’s committee submitted its committee report for plenary consideration after “52 budget hearings, several briefings, and a comprehensive discussion with the agencies constituting the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) to thresh out the finer details of the 2019 national budget.”
Earlier, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto said that it will not be “physically possible” to submit a ratified and consolidated version of the 2019 national budget before the deadline set by the President on December 15.
Sotto blamed the House of Representatives for the delay of the approval of the budget.
He noted that in 2017, the Senate was able to start deliberating on the national budget in October but this year, he said they would only start their deliberations on the matter by December 4.
“House of Representatives should have considered that when they delayed their transmittal to us. The revamp in the lower house is the major cause of delay,” Sotto said.
Further, Senator Panfilo Lacson said the delay of the passage of the proposed budget is due to last-minute “pork barrel allocations” facilitated by members of the House.
The 2019 budget was proposed at P3.757 trillion which is a P10-billion decrease from last year’s national budget.
As of writing, the Senate is conducting plenary debates on the budget of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its attached agencies.
Senator Bam Aquino is sponsoring the DTI’s allocated budget on the floor. Senators Richard Gordon and Franklin Drilon are interpellating Aquino. /je
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