Recto finds bicam on 2019 budget ‘more difficult’ to reach agreement
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has found this year’s bicameral conference meeting on the 2019 national budget “more difficult” to reach an agreement.
On Tuesday, the Senate and the House of Representatives contingents met for the first time in the bicam to reconcile their versions of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
Recto was among those who attended the meeting on the part of the Senate.
“The differences between the NEP, GAB and Senate version are a lot,” Recto said in a text message after the bicam meeting.
NEP is National Expenditure Program or Malacanang’s budget proposal, which is submitted to Congress.
“As I anticipated, this year’s bicam will be more difficult to reach an agreement,” Recto said.
“Nevertheless, all will have to compromise to get budget done,” he also said.
Recto also remains hopeful the 2019 national budget would be ratified “within” the February 6-deadline.
One of the controversial issues in the proposed national budget for this year was the P75 billon “adjustment” made to the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The said amount was contained in the House version of the budget bill but this was deleted by the Senate and realigned to various agencies.
Until the 2019 budget is approved and ratified by Congress, the government will operate based on last year’s appropriation. /kga
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