By Argyll Geducos
Malacañang welcomed the apparent reconciliation of both chambers of Congress on the proposed 2019 budget, and said it now awaits the submission of the enrolled bill for President Duterte’s signature.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo issued the statement after both Senate and the House of Representatives reportedly agreed to revert to the bicameral conference committee version of the budget bill.
Panelo said Malacañang welcomes the positive development and they are now looking forward to the submission of the enrolled bill.
“We welcome that they have finally settled their differences so we hope that they would be submitting the enrolled bill; and for the President to go over it and sign it if it conforms with the Constitution,” he said Monday.
“Members of the House have finally realized that whatever conflicts they have with the Senate should be set aside for the general welfare,” he added.
Panelo said the reconciliation of the Senate and the House of Representatives means that the doomsday scenarios about the country’s economic growth are now quashed.
“Ibig sabihin (It means) we would be moving forward to progress,” he said.
The Palace official said that lawmakers should now learn that their personal issues should come second to the welfare of the people.
“Well, they should always look at the interest of the people as the primary objective, not personal differences with members of each house,” Panelo said.
Last week, President Duterte said that he would not sign anything that would be deemed illegal as both houses of Congress argued about the proposed 2019 national budget.
Senator Ping Lacson earlier warned that the government may have to operate under a reenacted budget until August because of the controversies surrounding the General Appropriations Act.
In a speech in Malacañang Monday evening, Duterte recognized that there is still an ongoing debate at the Congress about the budget.
“I’ve said my piece: I will not sign anything that will be an illegal document,” Duterte assured.
Duterte also raised the dangers of working on a reenacted budget, saying it will affect everyone and everything in the country.
“Magkaroon tayo ng slide sa GDP niyan (Our gross domestic prodcut will take a dip) if we are going to reenact the budget,” he said.
“Everyone will suffer including our law enforcement,” he added.
Lacson alleged that House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo directed the realignments of P25 million from the Department of Health (DOH) for her favored congressmen.
Senate President Tito Sotto also said that the House of Representatives allegedly realigned some P79 billion under the ratified 2019 national budget.
Arroyo has denied that the House of Representatives did anything illegal with the proposed 2019 budget.