House ratifies P3.8-T proposed 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Friday ratified the P3.8 trillion 2019 proposed budget after months of heated discussions and deadlock between the legislative and executive branches.
House members ratified the 2019 budget via viva voce voting, hours after the bicameral conference committee approved it.
The passage of the 2019 budget has been delayed for more than a month now due to issues surrounding the insertion of funds in the budget. This has forced the government to operate on a reenacted budget using savings from 2018.
The ratified version of the budget contains pork — or bicameral pork — as House appropriations committee chair Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya described it.
According to Andaya, P75 billion worth of “pork” was inserted in the proposed budget — P70 billion allocated to senators and P5 billion distributed among House members.
Previously, it was revealed that there were last-minute insertions in the National Expenditure Program, with additional P75 billion worth of projects realigned to the Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH).
This prompted a word war between Andaya and Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Andaya has accused the cabinet member of trying to bribe the House with P40 billion in exchange for not meddling with the P75-billion alleged budget insertions.
Senator Panfilo Lacson has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to veto the pork insertions made by senators and House members. He explained that the Supreme Court (SC) has already declared lump-sum funds such as the pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) as unconstitutional. /ee