Arroyo signs 2019 budget; it’s up for Sotto to act

By Ben Rosario

With former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo affixing her signature to the bill, the House of Representatives has finally completed its duty with the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act.

“The enrolled copy of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) has been signed by the Speaker and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives. It has been transmitted to the Senate for the signature of the Senate President,” bared Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, in a statement Saturday.

It will now be up to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III to decide whether or not he would sign the document and have the bill enrolled for signature and enactment into law by President Duterte.

Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., Chairman of House Appropriations Committee (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)
Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., Chairman of House Appropriations Committee (MARK BALMORES / MANILA BULLETIN)

“I am still hopeful that the senators will have a change of heart. Line-item budgeting is our response to the people’s demand for transparency and accountability in the national budget,” added Andaya.

Also signing the ratified 2019 GAB that proposes a P3.757-trillion national budget was acting Secretary General Dante Roberto Maling.

“The House of Representatives has done its duty,” declared Andaya, who headed the House contingent in the Bicameral Conference proceedings on the budget.

“Your district representatives have approved the national budget for 2019 in accordance with all the agreements forged with senators during the Bicameral Conference Committee meetings,” he said.

Arroyo and Maling made the final House action on the budget bill in a bid to break the impasse between the two chambers on the approval of the measure.

Sotto has vowed not to sign the document if it still contains supposed alterations introduced by congressmen following the ratification of the Bicam report last February 8.

The Senate leader, together with Sen. Panfilo Lacson, claimed that detailing the lump sum provisions of the bill after having been ratified was an unconstitutional act.

During a meeting of Congress leaders called by President Duterte, senators failed to point out the supposed unconstitutionality of the Lower House action, claimed Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro.

Andaya said the Lower House already sent a copy of the enrolled bill to Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) “for their information and so that they will have a proper appreciation of the issues at hand based on an official document and not from uninformed innuendoes.”

The House official said the Senate still has until May, 2019 to act on the 2019 GAB.

“Both chambers will resume legislative session on May 20 until June 7. That is our last chance to pass the national budget,” Andaya explained.

“I am still hopeful that the senators will have a change of heart. Line-item budgeting is our response to the people’s demand for transparency and accountability in the national budget,” the Bicol solon said.

He insisted that “lump-sum funds are more prone to corruption and violate many tenets of transparent expenditure of public funds.”

“The House of Representatives is against a reenacted budget at this point in time. I hope the Senate shares this sentiment,” said Andaya.

 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

["news"]
[2109605,2814292,2534630,2485825,2408462,2358243,2358052,2344118,2339143,2047660,1998697,996820,995332,995948,995006,994327,994303,993947,993860,993770,993529,993383,993285,798318,3103405,3103401,3103398,3103395,3103392,3103386]