Bicam ratifies P3.75-T 2019 national budget, awaits Duterte’s signature

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DAVAO CITY (February 9)— After so much delay, the House of Representatives and the Senate bicameral committee ratified the proposed P3.75-trillion 2019 national budget.

The much awaited approval came a day before the Congress goes on break for the May 13 midterm elections.

The proposed budget will be submitted to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

It can be recalled that the 2019 budget was not passed before the calendar year 2018 ended, forcing the government to run on a reenacted 2018 budget since the start of the year.

The delays affected the expenditure of the local government units, as their budget is also dependent to the approval.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Malacañang welcomed the budget ratification, he even praised both chambers for making a “unified approbation” of the spending law.

“We are pleased that both Houses of Congress have reconciled their differences and made a unified approbation of the General Appropriations Bill,” Panelo said in a statement.

“Indeed there is no obstacle we cannot hurdle if we put our hearts to it, with only the interest of the Filipino people in mind,” he added.
 
Panelo said the Duterte administration’s key budget priorities were infrastructure development, poverty reduction, and better social services among others.

“We assure the nation that the Executive Branch upon its receipt of the enrolled General Appropriations Bill will thoroughly review the same to ensure that all items comply with the Constitution and the law, and more importantly, they redound to the benefit of the Filipino people,” he said.

The Department of National Defense received a P30.098 billion, followed by the Department of Health with an additional P21.523 billion.

A total of 15 senators voted in favor of the ratification of the bicam report on the spending bill, while five voted against it — Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Panfilo Lacson, Risa Hontiveros, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, and Francis Pangilinan.-Editha Z. Caduaya/NewsLine.ph

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