THE chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday said lawmakers agreed to do their best to approve the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed next year’s P4.1 trillion national budget tomorrow morning and ratify it on the same day.
At the same time, Ungab said Congress leaders are keeping their target to make the budget document available for signing into law by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte before December 21.
“We will do our best to finish the bicam by Tuesday,” said Ungab, who chairs the panel, after the scheduled bicameral conference committee meeting was rescheduled from this Monday morning to 8:30 in the morning tomorrow at the Manila Polo Club in Makati City.
“Hopefully, we can finish the bicam and plenary ratification (of the report) on Tuesday,” said Ungab.
“We are still aiming to send the final version of the budget to President Duterte before December 21,” Ungab added.
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, a vice chairman of the appropriations committee, denied there were still problems with reconciling the final version of the national budget as of press time Sunday.
“Wala namang (problems on the final version), talagang Tuesday ang original plan (of our meeting),” said Salceda who disclosed to House reporters that the bicameral meeting would be on Tuesday.
Well-placed sources said that Ungab and the Senate Committee on Finance chaired by Sen. Sonny Angara are still working on the final draft of the national budget.
Earlier Salceda, a member of the bicameral committee, said there were discrepancies in the allocations by the House of Representatives and Senate to the Departments of Health (DOH), of Transportation (DOTr), and of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The House of Representatives allocated P88.92 billion budget for DOH, but the Senate gave the department P100.49 billion.
The DOTr was given P146.04 billion budget by the House of Representatives compared to P120.32 billion under the Senate-approved version.
In the case of DPWH, the House of Representatives allocated P529.75 billion while senators allocated P536.58 billion.