MALACAÑANG was elated Tuesday, January 22, that the Senate already approved its version of the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
"The Palace is pleased to know that the Senate has passed on third and final reading the proposed 2019 National Budget," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
"We note that our lawmakers are treating the matter as urgent as they are about to finalize the 2019 national budget in the bicameral conference committee deliberations," he added.
The Senate on Monday, January 20, unanimously voted to pass the 2019 budget proposed by the Duterte administration, despite delays caused by reported "insertion" of P75-billion additional funds in the proposed allocation of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
Now that the Senate approved its version of the proposed budget for this year, a bicameral conference committee will be convened to settle the discrepancy in the House and Senate versions.
The House or Representatives approved on third and final reading its general appropriations bill (GAB) for fiscal year 2019 on November 20, 2018.
The Senate and the House of Representatives have until February 8 to reconcile differences in their respective versions and ratify the proposed 2019 budget before Congress goes on recess for the May 13 elections.
Once ratified, the final and consolidated version of the proposed budget for this year can be submitted to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Panelo was optimistic that with the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019, the Duterte government could already fulfill its mandate to boost the country's economy.
"The immediate approval of the General Appropriations Bill will jumpstart the implementation of new projects in 2019 and lay the groundwork for an anticipated impressive economic performance," he said.
"The passage of the GAB will certainly continue our march to national progress and development," he added. (SunStar Philippines)