AMENDMENTS TO PROPOSED 2019 BUDGET FINALIZED THIS WEEK
MANILA — The committee tasked to finalize the amendments to the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or the proposed 2019 PHP3.757-trillion national budget is set to complete its work this week, a lawmaker said Sunday.
House appropriations committee vice chairperson Maria Carmen Zamora, however, said the budget bill’s third reading approval would likely be taken up by the plenary next week.
“Unfortunately, we’re still quite in the thick of the amendments. Due to the volume of the amendments requested and agreed upon during the debates over HB (House Bill) 8169 alone, combined with the different agencies’ concerns, we’re still going through items,” Zamora said in an interview.
“We’re targeting finishing this week, and then the budget will be readied for printing. By the third week of November, we can have the third and final reading approval,” Zamora added.
The House of Representatives failed to meet its own deadline to pass the GAB on third reading before going into a congressional break on October 12. Zamora gave assurance that the 2019 national budget would be up for signing into law by President Rodrigo Duterte before December 31.
“The small committee has been working with the secretariat day in and out but it’s really a consuming process. Rest assured that we will pass the national budget in time for next year,” Zamora said.
One of the tasks of the small committee is to itemize the realigned funds worth PHP51.792 billion from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The realigned funds originally meant for DPWH regional infrastructure projects were funneled to education, health, agriculture and other projects of the DPWH. (PNA)