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Senate won't adopt House

version of 2020 budget Sotto -


By VANNT tLAlNt
p. TIRRAZ0IA and BE n. R0SAR|0 approve and transmit to President Duterte
before the year ends.
Senators have turned down the proposal to "We discussed the schedIule]. we cannot
adopt the House of Representatives' version adopt lthe House version]. Many amendments
of the proposed zo2o national budget. necessary," Sotto told reporters in a text mes-
This was according to senate President sage Monday night.
vicente sotto III when asked abqut their Senator Panfilo Lacson earlier suggested
caucus Monday afternoon on the P4.1-trillion the Upper chamber's adoption of rh'
national spending plan which they must .ongr*r-"n-"pprou"a zbzo uuag"i )
11

Senate won't adopt House... r <


bill to do away with the bicameral (General Appropriations Act) will
conference committee and swiftly continue until next year. Without the
ratify the measure in both houses. extension, the unused funds will go
Lhcson said this would also pre- back to the National Tr€asury,)) said
vent House members from making Maiority Leader and Leyte Rep, Martin
further amendments during the bicam Romualdez.
meet: Authors of HJR 19 said there are
To recall, the Senate and House appropriations in the 2019 national
clashed over the alleged last-minute budget that have not been released
"pork barrel" insertions allegedly during the year.
made by congressmen in the 2019 Instead of allowing the funds to
GeneralAppropriations Act, causing a be reverted to the Bureau of Treasury,
reenacted budget early this year. the amount shouldbe spent for urg€nt
But some senators were cold to priority projects that were not com:
Lacson's proposal to adopt the House pleted or not even started in 2019.
bill on the zo2o budget. Senate Ma- - House committee on Appropria-
iority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said tions Senior Vice Chairman joey Sal-
several of his colleagues will push for ceda of Albay said the extension of the
their respective amendments to the 2019 national budget is needed as the
measure. budget delay resulted in a 5-month
The Senate will start plenary de- implementation gap for proiects.
bates on the 2ozo budget next week, Salceda said it proportionally af-
zubiri said. fected P29o billion in infrastructure
proiects
Use of zorg budget extended
- with already P18o billion
under-spent in the first half of the
year
With 199 affirmative and no nega-
tive votes, the House of Representa-
- and P14o billion in mainte-
nance expenses, which would require
tives on Monday night unanimously equally 5 months more to implemenI
adopted House Joint Resolution (HJR) plus 3 months for payment.
19 extending the validity of the 2019 Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep:
General Appropriations Act autho- Loren Legarda, the principal author
rizing government to spend the al- of the measure emphasized that ex-
location for maintenance and other tending the availability of the appro-
operating expenses (MOOE). , priations is not meant to slow down
The legislative measure grants the growth or make agencies complacent
Duterte administration the a[thority so "they don't work and speed up'the
to use the remainder of the MOOE utilization" of their funds. .
until December 31, 2o1o. She added that some agencies
The resolution will amend section are unaware of their allocations and
65 of the General Appropriations Act therefore do not utilize their bud-
of Fiscal Year 2019, which p{ovides gets.
that all appropriations shall bd avail- "It would be such a waste if it
able for release and obligation until expires by this year. without really
December 31, 2019. allowing them to slow dor,rm in uti-
((We
have to ensure that fund- lization, I think this situation is now
ing requirements of some important unique," Legarda said. (with a report
national projects under the 2o19 cAA from PNA)

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