Although federalism could no longer be approved during the 17th Congress, Pimentel added that discussions, hearings and documents could be used in the next congress.
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House can still tackle federalism — Koko Pimentel
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives can now discuss the matter of federalism after it completed deliberation on the P3.737-trillion 2019 national budget, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said yesterday.

Although federalism could no longer be approved during the 17th Congress, Pimentel added that discussions, hearings and documents could be used in the next congress.

“The House still has time. Perhaps it’s the decision of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We don’t have time for it in the Senate because we’re focused on the budget,” Pimentel said in Filipino an interview over radio dwIZ.

The Senate aims to complete by Dec. 15 their discussion on the 2019 national budget to prevent a reenacted budget for next year.

“After the elections, we can tackle federalism again. A lot of people are against it so we need to think about it thoroughly. After all the shift in the system of government will affect the Filipino people in the next 30 to 100 years,” he added.

Pressure on budget

Pimentel acknowledged that “the pressure is on us” to pass the 2019 national budget.

“We’re exerting our best effort…super human effort, with overtime work. Tomorrow we start and we will see if we can finish the deliberation in 12 days, including the weekend,” he said.

Senators, however, want “quality review of the appropriations from the House,” Pimentel added.

Pimentel expressed his apprehensions about a reenacted budget as it directly affects infrastructure projects of the government as well as the last tranche of the increase in the basic pay of the uniformed service, among others.

For his part, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he agrees with the holding of daily sessions until Dec. 15.

“With the amount of the budget, we need to deliberate on it carefully. We have checks and balances because we do not approve automatically every piece of legislation that comes from the House, especially because there will be elections next year,” Gatchalian noted.

Gatchalian also denied reports that senators have a pork barrel of P200 million each in the 2019 national budget.

2019 NATIONAL BUDGET AQUILINO PIMENTEL III FEDERALISM
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