Senator Sonny Angara answers reporters’ questions after the bicameral conference committee convened to discuss the proposed 2020 national budget in Makati City on Friday, November 29, 2019. Photo by Christia Marie Ramos/INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines — The passage of the proposed P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 will be “smoother.”
Senator Sonny Angara made this assurance Friday after the bicameral conference committee (Bicam) held its first discussion on the proposed national budget.
The bicam consists of 15 senators and 23 members from the House of Representatives.
Asked if the passage of the budget will have smooth sailing, Angara said: “Definitely.”
“I think, that dispute was a product nung (of the) leadership sa (at the) House eh,” he further said, referring to the delay for the 2019 budget.
“Ito, mukang wala namang pagbabago, so I think, smoother,” he added.
(This time, there are no changes, so I think, smoother).
The first bicam meeting only lasted around five minutes with both contingents from the Senate and the House commending one another for the timely approval of each version of the budget bill.
The bicam, during the meeting, agreed to mandate and authorize the two chairpersons to meet one-on-one to resolve the differences in the respective versions of the appropriations measure.
The Senate panel is headed by Angara while House appropriations committee chair Rep. Isidro Ungab chairs the House contingent.
“The House and the Senate will study the respective changes na binago doon sa (that were done in) versions of the budget tapos (and then) we’ll meet again next week,” Angara went on.
“The final decision is one-on-one. But there’s always a consultation. What happens is usually, pag may amendments na they don’t agree with, we’ll have to discuss it with the senator or the congressman who made the amendment,” he added.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, a member of the bicam, also believes the passage of the budget bill will be a smooth one.
“Sana natuto na tayo dun sa naging experience natin last year at naapektuhan ang ating economic growth numbers ‘no, so I hope we’ve learned from that and that we will avoid,” he said.
(Hopefully we learned from our experience last year and our economic growth numbers were affected).
“At saka maganda na ring senyales na natapos nang maaga itong pagpapasa on third reading ng bawat Kamara at naguumpisang maaga din ang bicam. So that’s a good sign,” he added.
(And it’s also a good sign that the respective bills (from the Senate and the House) were passed on third reading early and that the bicam convened early as well. So that’s a good sign).
Senator Panfilo Lacson, for his part, expressed optimism that the budget will be passed on time.
“I have high hopes House appropriations committee chair Sid Ungab, he stood his ground when some leaders of HOR were trying to withdraw, he stood his ground,” he said.
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