Muscat: A bicameral legislative committee in the Philippines has ratified the country’s 2019 budget.
The move welcomed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
His spokesman, Salvador Panelo said, “This year’s budget is essential in building a bright future for our nation and for our people. It lays the foundation for an inclusive growth and sustainable development.”
Panelo said the 2019 budget will push the president's promise of change in areas of infrastructure development, human development and poverty reduction, social services, and peace and order.
He welcomed the Senate and House of Representatives' reconciliation of their versions.
"Indeed there is no obstacle we cannot hurdle if we put our hearts to it, with only the interest of the Filipino people in mind," he said.
Panelo, who is also Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, assured the public of a 2019 budget that is legal and beneficial to Filipinos.
"We assure the nation that the Executive Branch, upon its receipt of the enrolled General Appropriations Bill, will thoroughly review the same to ensure that all items comply with the Constitution and the law, and more importantly, they redound to the benefit of the Filipino people," he said.
The House of Representatives on Friday ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed PHP3.757 trillion national budget for 2019.
The ratification of this year’s budget was done at the last minute, with Congress extending sessions for two days before it goes on break from February 9 to May 19 for the mid-term elections.
The passage of the 2019 budget was delayed when the Senate failed to approve the national expenditure program before 2018 ended, leading to the automatic reenactment of the 2018 budget.
The Senate only approved this year’s budget on January 21, with the bicameral conference committee immediately starting its work on the same day to reconcile the disagreeing provisions in the Senate and House versions of the spending bill.
The bicameral conference committee approved the 2019 spending bill on Friday afternoon.