House may pass P4.1-T 2020 budget on final reading Friday — Ungab
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives may pass the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 on its second and final reading on Friday, September 20, House appropriations chair and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab said Thursday.
On Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte certified the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) as urgent. In line with this, Ungab said the House could approve the budget bill on second and third reading within the same day.
“Thus, it is possible that the GAB will be passed this Friday, since it was already certified as urgent,” Ungab said in a text message to reporters, stressing that the passage of the budget bill on time is “of immense importance in helping boost the economy.”
House ways and means panel chair and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda also echoed Ungab’s remark that the House could approve the budget bill on final reading on Friday. It is the first time that Duterte issued a presidential certification on a budget, Salceda added.
In a separate statement also on Thursday, House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez assured Filipino taxpayers that the 2020 budget “will be a reflection not only of the President’s vision but also of the people’s will.”
The chamber originally hoped to pass the expenditure plan on final reading by October 4 to prevent a repeat of the delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget caused by legislators fighting over kickback-laden pork barrel funds.
The chamber began its two-week plenary debates on the proposed expenditure plan last September 10, after just two weeks of committee-level deliberations.
Members of the Makabayan opposition bloc criticized the short time provided to scrutinize the spending plan with Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite saying many questionable items were inserted in the “railroaded” budget. /je
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