Senate, House set to approve proposed P4.1T 2020 budget

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MANILA, Philippines — The proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget may finally be approved today by the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“We will convene tomorrow (Wednesday) morning to discuss and sign the report on the final draft of the budget. Later in the afternoon, we will try to ratify the report,” House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez told House reporters Tuesday.

The congressman from Leyte was referring to the expanded bicameral conference committee on the spending bill, which he said will meet in Makati City. Said panel is composed of 23 House members, including Romualdez, and 14 senators.

To expedite the matter, the committee had accordingly authorized Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, and appropriations committee chair and his Senate counterpart, Sonny Angara, to draft a common version of the proposed 2020 budget.

The two chambers were originally scheduled to convene last Monday but it was postponed meeting twice because the Ungab-Angara panel was still reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the spending bill.

Reporters asked Ungab whether today’s bicam and plenary ratification of the final version of the budget would push through, the appropriations chair refused to give a definite answer.

“Hopefully, it will. So far, we have finished the committee report (on the final version), but it seems that senators want to review it today,” he said.

For his part, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said: “90-95 percent of the budget has been reconciled, but the remaining 5-10 percent could be the killer.”

So, there. (IAMIGO/CNS)

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