“We will convene tomorrow morning to discuss and sign the report on the final draft of the budget. Later in the afternoon, we will try to ratify the report,” House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez told reporters yesterday.
Michael Varcas
Senate, House set to approve 2020 budget
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate and the House of Representatives are set to approve their common version of the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget today.

“We will convene tomorrow morning to discuss and sign the report on the final draft of the budget. Later in the afternoon, we will try to ratify the report,” House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez told reporters yesterday.

He was referring to the expanded bicameral conference committee on the spending bill, which will meet in Makati City. The panel is composed of 23 House members, including Romualdez, and 14 senators.

The committee had authorized Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is appropriations committee chairman, and his Senate counterpart, Sonny Angara, to draft the common version of the proposed 2020 budget.

The budget conferees from the two chambers were originally scheduled to convene on Monday but had to postpone their meeting twice because the Ungab-Angara panel was still reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the spending bill.

Asked if today’s bicam and plenary ratification of the final version of the budget would push through, Ungab remained guarded in his statement yesterday.

“Hopefully, it will. So far, we have finished the committee report (on the final version), but it seems that senators want to review it today,” he said.

On Monday, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said “90-95 percent of the budget has been reconciled, but the remaining 5-10 percent could be the killer.”

However, he assured the nation that the budget for next year would be enacted before yearend.

On Nov. 29, when he briefly attended the first budget reconciliation conference, Cayetano said there were “non-negotiable” issues in the talks on the part of the House.

“These are no pork, no parking (hiding of funds) and the need for full transparency,” he said.

He said every realignment, addition and reduction made by the House and the Senate would have to be scrutinized and exposed to the public.

The House had made P9.5 billion in realignments in the budget, while the Senate has realigned a total of P206 billion. It is not clear yet which of these diversions have been retained in the common version of the outlay.

2020 NATIONAL BUDGET HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SENATE
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