THE short tension among House leaders has not led to changes to the budget, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations said.
In an interview at the continuation of budget deliberations, committee chairman and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab said that the 2020 General Appropriations Bill remains the same.
The proposed national budget for next year is P4.1 trillion.
“So far walang changes. I made an explanation kung bakit ang GAB should be retained as is because it has been a tradition, a practice here in the House, we usually copy in toto, parang photocopy lang ‘yung GAB na ginagawa ng appropriations committee ng NEP (National Expenditure Program),” Ungab told reporters.
Ungab confirmed the meeting with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other House leaders to sort out issues concerning the budget.
Earlier, reports said Deputy Speaker L-Ray Villafuerte moved to withdraw House Bill 4228 upon orders of Cayetano because of premature filing considering agencies are still making their respective presentation.
Ungab said he strongly opposed the withdrawal because this would derail the budget approval.
In a new development, Ungab said he got assurance from the House leaders that it will be approved on time.
He further explained that while Congress can make its own GAB, it would only take up much time.
The executive branch also is better able to craft the NEP as they have the Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance and the National Economic Development Authority which are “very well aware of the development plans,” he added.
“Maganda yung pagkabudget talaga, cash-based budget pa… kaya inadopt na namin yung NEP as the GAB… sila ang mas magaling gumawa ng plano,” he said.
Ungab also claimed that there are some lawmakers who are complaining and supposedly wanted to make “insertions” in the budget bill.
But in Tuesday’s interview, Ungab clarified that the 2020 GAB was actually not withdrawn from the plenary but only referred back to the Committee on Rules.
“Instead of appropriations committee, ni-refer back to Rules. So it’s possible na from the rules, ibalik lang yan. And I think the plan is tonight ibalik na sa appropriations,” he said.
Ungab said they would push through with the schedule of the budget deliberations as originally planned.
The plenary deliberations on the 2020 GAB will begin next week and last until October 4 when the budget bill is expected to be approved on third reading.