Manila Times /Manila
The House of Representatives has yet to withdraw its version of the 2019 budget bill, Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said yesterday.
“We have not withdrawn our version. We’re in discussion about what is the proposed new version,” Arroyo told reporters on the sidelines of a business event in Taguig City.
The Speaker is set to meet with other House members later, including San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, her delegated negotiator with the Senate on the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday said the House agreed to keep the version of the bill approved in the bicameral conference committee report.
Arroyo, who signed the budget measure last week, maintained that the House will keep its version with line-itemised projects, contrary to the proposal of the Senate to have a lump sum budgeting.
“We will insist on no lump sum because that is what is unconstitutional. That’s what we will insist, no lump sum. Now, as to the details, that’s the one that we’ll see,” she added.
The P3.757tn national budget impasse continues as Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto 3rd remains firm on not signing a bill allegedly tinkered by the House post-ratification. At least P95.1bn were supposedly realigned and a portion of the P15bn budget for the Health Facilities Enhancement Programme were itemised to at least 62 favoured districts, Lacson noted.
“If we don’t come to an agreement and then Tito Sotto does not sign the bill, then there’s no bill to send to the president. So I do not know if we will but I would wish we would,” Arroyo said.
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