Fate of budget in President’s hands — Andaya

Rolando Andaya Jr.

HOUSE appropriations committee chairman Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. said they are leaving the fate of the proposed 2019 national budget to President Rodrigo Duterte.

However, Andaya assured the President as well as the public that the proposed P3.767 trillion is constitutional, legal and very transparent.

The enrolled copy of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill has been transmitted to President Duterte for his study and signature.

“Once enacted into law, I assure the taxpaying public that the national budget for 2019 will pass not only the test of constitutionality and legality but also of transparency and accountability,” Andaya said.

Earlier, Senate President Tito Sotto signed the bill “with reservations” and will just let the President veto the portion to which members of the House made changes or insertions.

“Yung ibang bagay na sinasabi ng ating Senate President, nasa discretion na yun ng ating mahal na Pangulo. Kami kahit magbigay ng opinion, it is the President that decides on this matter,” Andaya said.

The approval of the budget had hit an impasse because the two chambers are pushing for different budgeting systems.

The House wants line-item budgeting system while Senate proposes lump sum budgeting.

According to Andaya, the House of Representatives worked double-time for several months — in committee meetings, plenary session, bicameral conference meetings — to ensure that taxpayers from all legislative districts will get a fair share of the budget.

“We took time to examine the budget in order to expunge programs and projects not vetted by appropriate government agencies and institutional mechanisms,” he said.

“We may have locked horns with senators on contentious issues, but both sides chose to work on our commonalities rather than waste precious time over disagreements. That is democracy at work,” he added.

Andaya expressed confidence that the product of this democratic process will help improve the economic situation and uplift the lives of ordinary Filipinos.