Arroyo: Congress to resolve budget row next week

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 21 2019 11:45 PM

MANILA - House Speaker Gloria Arroyo said Thursday that Congress will seek to resolve the 2019 national budget impasse next week.

“The congressmen and the senators will be talking. I think, maybe, Monday,” Arroyo said.

Asked whether the House has set a target date for ironing out differences on the budget, Arroyo said “the sooner, the better.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III refused to sign the budget after Sen. Panfilo Lacson claimed Arroyo realigned P25 billion to favor certain lawmakers, which she denied. 

The House of Representatives on Wednesday said it will retrieve the budget books it sent to the Senate, but clarified it was not withdrawing the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) it approved.

House Appropriations Chair Rolando Andaya Jr. added that the Speaker has instructed them to form a 3-man team that will meet with their Senate counterparts to address contentious issues on the 2019 budget.

Meanwhile, Sotto said senators are open to potential "cure" to the ongoing standoff over the 2019 budget.

The government is operating on a reenacted budget and the Palace and finance officials have warned that remaining in this setup could affect the country’s economic growth for 2019.