MANILA - Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez on Tuesday called on Congress to pass the 2020 Budget Bill on time, after leaders of the House of Representatives earlier sparred over the measure.
“We encourage the legislature to pass the budget on time after due deliberations, as the consequences of operating on a re-enacted budget as what happened this year, are extremely detrimental to the nation, especially the disadvantaged,” Dominguez said.
The finance chief issued the statement after the head of the House panel on government spending, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, warned the passage of the budget could be derailed, as other lawmakers sought to include "priority projects" in the bill.
But Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Tuesday played down this scenario, saying the House of Representatives will “move forward” and refer the 2020 national budget back to the plenary.
Salceda, who heads the House tax-writing committee, said rival blocs agreed to support Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in getting the 2020 budget approved before lawmakers go on break on Oct. 5.
The budget bill was earlier withdrawn from the plenary by Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte due to alleged “premature” filing, prompting a protest from Ungab.
Analysts have said that slower economic growth in the first half of the year was primarily due to the delayed passage of the 2019 budget.