Senate goes on Christmas break without passing 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines — As expected, the Senate adjourned its session on Thursday without passing the 2019 budget.
Congress will go on Christmas break and will resume on January 14, 2019.
The Senate will resume its session at 10 a.m. on January 14 and will continue its plenary deliberations on the budget.
Even before its adjournment, Senate leaders had already predicted that the budget would not be approved within the year.
“We really tried our best,” Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri told reporters.
But Zubiri noted that even House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. announced during the joint session on martial law extension on Wednesday that the bicameral conference committee on the budget would meet next year.
“Even if we finish the budget on our part, here in the Senate…hindi talaga matatapos at mara-ratify yan kasi ang gusto ni Majority Leader Andaya na ang bicam will be next year pa (we cannot really finish ratifying that because Majority Leader Andaya wants to hold the bicam next year),” he said.
“So parang, bakit pa tayo maghihirap ngayon at magpupuyat…na di naman kayayanin tapusin taong ito (So why are we going to push this if we cannot finish it this year)? So the mood of the senators is just to continue this on January 14.”
“The prevailing mood is why rush since the House does not want to meet us anyway for bicam during the December period and wants to meet us after the break,” the senator added.
The Senate nevertheless almost completed tackling the budgets of various agencies except for a few major departments like the Department of Tourism and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Some senators have earlier blamed the House of Representatives for the delay in passing the budget to due to the alleged unfinished “insertions” or “pork barrel.” /ee
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.