Rigid review delays 2020 national budget okay


    MEMBERS of the bicameral conference committee on the proposed P4.1-trillion national have yet to complete their final scrutiny of the draft General Appropriations Bill (GAB), Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said yesterday.

    Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, said members of the Senate contingent to the bicameral panel requested for additional time to review the reconciled version of the money measure.

    “Just finalizing and the senators asked for one (more) day to study the House amendments,” Angara said when asked to explain the re-scheduling of the bicam panel’s meet scheduled for Tuesday.

    This was the second time that the final meeting was reset. The bicameral group was supposed to meet Friday last week to finish reconciling the Senate and the House of Representatives’ versions of the GAB.

    On Sunday, senators asked to reset the Monday meeting to Tuesday instead to give them extra time to review the amendments introduced to the proposed national budget for next year.

    On Monday, however, Angara announced in a memorandum that the panel will instead meet on Wednesday.

    Tuesday’s bicam was supposed to be the final meet since both panels have agreed to at least 95 percent of the amendments introduced to the proposed national budget.

    Senate President Vicente Sotto III earlier said they are eyeing the passage of the budget bill either on Tuesday or Wednesday this week, days before Congress takes a Christmas break on December 20.

    Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chair of the House committee on appropriations, confirmed that the bicameral meeting has been moved to Wednesday.

    “The staff is still finalizing some details,” he said in a text message. – With Wendell Vigilia