Sotto hopeful Congress will pass 2019 budget by year-end

Published November 15, 2018, 3:44 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the House of Representatives has promised to speed up the approval of the proposed 2019 national budget for its transmittal to the Upper Chamber so that it would be passed before they go on a break next month.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel)
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III

Sotto on Wednesday met House Majority Floor Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. to discuss the P3.757-trillion proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2019.

In their meeting, the Senate chief said Andaya guaranteed that there would not be re-enacted 2018 budget for next year.

“I was assured by Cong. Andaya that there will not be a re-enacted budget. It’s now just a matter of timing,” Sotto told reporters in a text message.

A re-enacted budget occurs when Congress failed to approve, or rejected, by the end of the year the proposed national allocation for the succeeding year. This means government agencies and programs for 2019 would operate with the same amount and within the same funding under the approved 2018 budget.

But in a separate message to the Manila Bulletin, Sotto said Andaya promised that the Lower Chamber “will take extra effort to have it in the Senate by next week” to avoid a re-enacted budget.

Sotto, earlier, admitted that the Senate’s schedule on the approval of the 2019 budget may be pushed back as they have to wait for the House’s approval of the proposed GAA.

The House has yet to approve their version of the appropriations bill. It was delayed when congressmen fought over the realignment of the P51.7-billion “pork barrel” funds.

Congress sessions are scheduled to adjourn on December 15 for the holiday break.

“I think we now have a limited timeframe,” Sotto had said in a press forum last week.