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House aims to pass 2019 budget next month – Pichay



MANILA – The House of Representatives is set to begin on Monday the plenary debates on the proposed Php 3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

Deputy Speaker Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. said the smooth discussion of issues pertaining to the budgetary allocations of government agencies would ensure the timely passage of next year’s proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Pichay said the House leadership targets to approve House Bill 8168 on final reading before Congress’ scheduled adjournment on October 12.

Last August 28, Malacañang and the House of Representatives finally agreed to use a “hybrid budgeting scheme” to address the budget cuts imposed in major government projects.

House Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. assured the public there would be no reenacted budget for 2019 as the Department of Budget and Management allowed the hybrid budgeting scheme to run for one and a half year.

House legislators and the economic managers were earlier locked in a stalemate on the highly-contested cash-based budgeting scheme in the proposed 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) due to several budget cuts which the lawmakers and other government agencies have been complaining.

But Andaya revealed that they were looking for possible options to address the budget cuts in education, health and public works sector by probably sourcing some allotment from the un-programmed funds.

He added that passing a supplemental budget was another option for Congress.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, said the House was always conscious of its mandate to approve next year’s budget in order “not to hamper the delivery of basic services” to the people.

The Lower House is expected to hold a marathon session starting Monday, in which, plenary session will start at 10 a.m. while floor discussions on the 2019 budget bill are scheduled at 2 p.m.

The budgets of the following agencies have been lined up for Monday are the Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Education (DepEd) and their attached agencies; Department of Finance (DOF), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Department of Tourism (DOT) and their attached agencies and corporations; Commission on Audit (COA), Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The budgets of other executive offices will also be tackled, namely: Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC); Governance Commission for GOCCs; Commission on the Filipino Language; and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts with the following offices: NCCA (Proper), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), National Library of the Philippines (NLP), and National Archives of the Philippines (NAP).