Lacson on House OK of 2020 budget: What ‘record time?’
MANILA, Philippines — Staunch pork barrel foe Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday, Sept. 23, disputed claims by House leaders that the lower chamber passed the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget in “record time,” saying “they’re not done yet.”
Lacson said the House of Representatives is still in the period of amendments which was “more tedious.”
“They just passed plenary debates, meaning period of interpellation,” said Lacson in an ambush interview.
“So it is wrong to conclude they passed the House version of the budget in record time because they have not done that yet,” he added.
Last Friday, Sept. 20, the House voted 257-6 to pass on final reading the proposed budget for next year, with the chamber’s leaders saying it was done in just a month since Malacanang submitted the spending proposal to Congress.
But before passing the proposed budget, the House formed a small committee that would gather and approve congressmen’s requests for amendments in a process that was supposed to last until Sept. 23.
The House rushed passage of the proposed budget to avoid a repeat of the delay in enactment of the 2019 budget due to bickering over pork barrel funds, a source of kickbacks for most members of the House.
The delay cost the government more than 1 percent in gross domestic product growth as it was blamed for a record slow growth in the first quarter of 2019 when the government was forced to underspend by up to P1 billion a day because it was operating on a reenacted budget./TSB
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