Senate, House panels to meet Monday for last budget talks
Updated (4:21 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — After weeks of bickering over the ratified 2019 national budget, the Senate and House of Representatives have finally agreed to sit down and discuss the future of the budget bill on Monday, March 25.
“The House and Senate panels will meet Monday morning,” San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora confirmed in a text message to INQUIRER.net Thursday.
House appropriations committee chair Rolando Andaya Jr., meanwhile, welcomed the move of the two chambers to agree to resolve the budget deadlock.
“What is good is that we finally come to a consensus to sit down and talk,” the Camarines Sur 1st District representative said in a text message.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III shared the same optimism on breaking the budget impasse, a day after the lower chamber recalled its version of the spending bill that was sent to Senate last March 11.
“Perhaps, what we could say is that the door is now open for a possible cure to the impasse,” Sotto said, noting that the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) would be ready for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval by next week if the House agrees to retain the version which Congress ratified on Feb. 8.
It remains to be seen, however, if the House would agree with the Senate’s position and abandon their stand to itemize portions of the GAB.
House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has instructed Andaya, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, and San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora to meet with their Senate counterparts to address contentious issues on the budget bill within five days. /ee
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