By Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, said Wednesday the country would be at the losing end if the 2019 budget would be further delayed.
This as the Senate and the House of Representatives stuck to their positions that their individual versions of the ratified bicameral conference committee report on the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion national budget is the correct one.
President Duterte had told Senate leaders that he would not sign a budget that is constitutionally infirmed as pointed out by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson.
‘’Si Pangulong Duterte na mismo ang nagsabi na hindi niya pipirmahan ang illegal na budget kaya kailangang sumunod ang House of Representatives sa kung ano ang napag-usapan at nakapagkasunduan ng bicam committee,’’ he said. (President Duterte himself had said that he would not sign an illegal budget and that is why the House leadership should follow what has been agreed upon in the bicameral conference committee.)
‘’The 2019 GAA (General Appropriations Act or national budget needs to be enacted as soon as possible to prevent adverse implications on our macro-economy and ensure that basic services provided to the public will not be affected,’’ Gatchalian pointed out.
‘’Based on our own internal computation, should the government continue to operate on a reenacted budget until August, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2019 may slow to 6 percent – equivalent to a loss of P67.2 billion – from the original forecast of 6.7 percent,’’ he added.