Andaya Suggests Reenacted Budget For 2019 If Talks Fail

The chairman of the House committee on appropriations on Thursday said he will personally recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the use of a reenacted budget for the entire 2019 should they fail to break the budget impasse with the Senate.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said he, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman have five days to talk with their Senate counterparts to finally resolve the budget conflict.

The Senate panel is composed of Senator Loren Legarda, the chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, along with Senators Panfilo Lacson and Gregorio Honasan.

“We and our Senate counterparts are are given five days to resolve the impasse. Kung mag-fail, magpakatotoo na tayo. Ako na mismo ang magre-rekomenda na reenacted [budget] na tayo the whole year para umusad na ang mga proyekto (If it fails, let’s face it. I will personally recommend a reenacted budget for the whole year so that projects will move on),” Andaya said.

Andaya said they are still hoping that “the Senate will finally agree with the House” to finally send the 2019 proposed PHP3.757-trillion national budget to President Duterte.

Andaya issued the statements a day after the House of Representatives “physically retrieved” the budget books it sent to the Senate in a last-ditch effort to resolve the budget impasse.

However, Andaya clarified that the retrieval of the budget books does not mean that the House is withdrawing or backtracking from its earlier position.

He maintained that the House followed a legal and constitutional national budget after they itemized the lump sum funds.

Andaya also insisted that the House would not agree to the Senate’s seeming pro-lump sum fund position because the Supreme Court (SC) has already ruled against it.

Meanwhile, Lagman said the decision to retrieve the budget books was “to show good faith for the holding of immediate meaningful and sober dialogues to finally resolve the impasse, and spare the economy and the people of the detrimental and adverse effects of a prolonged reenacted budget.”

The head of the opposition bloc in the House has expressed full support for the House version of the 2019 budget.

Lagman stressed that the House version was “completely constitutional and legal” and is entirely “compliant with the ratified bicameral conference committee report.” (PNA)