Legarda hopes Senate-House impasse for national budget will be resolved
Sen. Loren Legarda assured the public on Saturday that the 2017 national budget would not be reenacted next year after the members of the Senate and House of Representatives clash over certain items in the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA).
In a series of tweets, Legarda, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said the differences over the P3.767-trillion 2018 national budget between the two chambers of Congress would be resolved by the bicameral committee.
“There will be NO reenacted budget. As always, issues will be resolved. It’s a socially inclusive, pro people budget that takes care of the poor and marginalized,” Legarda said.
“We are working tirelessly for the #2018gaa so that our people will have the social protection, sustainable livelihoods they deserve. #parasabayan,” she added.
There will be NO reenacted budget. As always, issues will be resolved. It’s a socially inclusive, pro people budget that takes care of the poor and marginalized.
— loren legarda (@loren_legarda) December 1, 2017
— loren legarda (@loren_legarda) December 2, 2017
The possibility of a reenacted budget was raised on Friday after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez warned the Senate that the lower chamber would insist on certain allotments in its version of the budget.
The contentious issues include the Senate’s move to cut P50.7 billion from the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for right-of-way acquisitions and its realignment of the Philippine National Police’s P900-million anti-drug campaign budget and the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s P500-million fund for the Mamamayang Ayaw Sa Anomalya, Mamamayang Ayaw sa Ilegal na Droga (Masa-Masid) program to the housing program for police and military personnel.
For its part, Malacañang expressed optimism that the two chambers would be able to discuss and thresh out their differences to pass the budget.
“I am pretty sure that mahahanapan naman ito ng resolusyon just like during the past bicameral conferences, nagkakaroon po ng ano, nagkakaroon po ng differences sa Senado at lower House,” Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a radio interview on Saturday.
(I am pretty sure that we would find a resolution just like the past bicameral conferences, in which differences were raised between the Senate and the lower House.)
If the Congress fails to pass the budget when the fiscal year begins, the current budget will be automatically reenacted. A reenacted budget has historically given the sitting President wider elbow room to spend funds already appropriated in the current year, automatically appearing as savings.
The Congress would hold its last session on December 13. /jpv
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