Ratified by Congress before Friday – Andaya

February 05, 2019
Rolando Andaya Jr.

THE chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday assured the ratification of the 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget for President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s signing next week as the House of Representatives will hold session until this Friday to ensure its passage.

Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya, Jr., who chairs the panel and heads the House contingent to the bicameral conference committee (bicam) of the national budget, said the bicam will approve the national budget today for Congress’ ratification before adjourning this Friday for the national election campaign.

“All talk of a reenacted budget is baseless. The 2019 national budget will be ready for the President’s signature next week,” Andaya, a former Budget secretary, gave the assurance.

“The House of Representatives is sticking to the Wednesday target of approving the Bicameral Conference Report on the GAA for 2019.  At this point, we are still on target,” said Andaya.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin bared through an advisory sent to lawmakers by acting House Secretary General Roberto “Bobby” Maling that the House of Representatives will hold session until Friday this week to ratify the national budget.

“We wish to inform Your Honor that the House of Representatives will have sessions until Friday, 8 February 2019. Roll call will be conducted immediately after the daily Call to Order at 3 pm. Approval of measures on 2nd and 3rd reading, as well as the ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on the 2019 budget, are scheduled to be taken up during this period,” said the advisory of Maling.

Diokno pressed.

Andaya however insisted that Diokno should submit all the documents they have been demanding as he accused the secretary last Monday of releasing funds from 2017 national budget savings allegedly without the knowledge of Congress and signature of President Duterte.

“As we pass the 2019 budget this week, though, all this talk of pork is useless unless we see the whole picture. The House conferees have demanded to see the lump-sum savings of the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) for 2018. We knew from the beginning it would not be granted, for that is where the DBM pork lies,” said Andaya.

“Documents in our possession show that for 2017, a total of P370 billion was generated in savings. This amount was at the full disposal of Sec. Diokno,” Andaya said.