2019 budget won't be signed until Feb next year based on Senate schedule

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 26 2018 09:25 PM

MANILA - The 2019 budget is unlikely to be passed before the Senate goes on its Christmas break this year and will likely be signed in early February at the soonest based on a schedule drafted by an official Monday. 

After holding an all-party caucus this afternoon, the Senate has come up with its own “tentative of calendar for the 2019 budget,” underlining the government’s scenario of having a reenacted 2018 budget for its first two months of operations next year.

Based on the calendar released by Senate Majority Floor Leader Miguel Zubiri, the budget bill will undergo interpellation from Dec. 5 to 12, after which the upper chamber goes on a holiday break. 

The bill is seen getting approved on third reading by Jan. 16, then reach the bicameral conference committee by Jan. 17, and signed by congressional leaders by Feb. 7. 

There is no set date on when the bill will be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. 

This is the first time that a reenacted budget will be used under the Duterte administration. 

The 2019 General Appropriations Act totals P3.757 trillion. 

Congressmen passed the budget bill last week.

An analyst has warned that a reenacted national budget next year may give the president more discretionary powers on aligning funds and opens the doors for the creation of his own confidential fund.