Budget bill withdrawal from plenary risks passage timeline: House leader


Posted at Sep 02 2019 11:03 AM

MANILA - The withdrawal of the 2020 national budget from plenary deliberations at the House of Representatives could “derail” the timeline for its approval, the head of the chamber's tax-writing body said Monday. 

House Appropriations Committee chairman Isidro Ungab said he formally relayed his "objection," after Deputy Speaker L-Ray Villafuerte on Sunday said he withdrew the proposed General Appropriations Act for next year from plenary debates due to "premature" filing.

"Your proposal to withdraw and amend the General Appropriations Bill for FY2020 will definitely derail the schedule and approval of the budget," Ungab said in a statement. 

"To prepare another set of General Appropriations Bill will require enormous time, efforts and resources that will surely affect or delay the passage of the 2020 budget," said the representative of Davao City's third district.

The delayed passage of the 2019 national budget due to alleged "insertions" slowed economic growth in the first 6 months of the year.

Any alterations to the National Expenditure Program could also cast doubts on the proceedings of the House of Representatives, Ungab said. 

The bill was withdrawn from the plenary deliberations after Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was made co-author of the measure without his knowledge, Villafuerte said, adding that it was just a "procedural matter." 

The House is still committed to pass the budget on time, he said. 

-- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News