MANILA -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on third and final reading the proposed PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget.

With 196 affirmative votes, eight negative votes, and no abstention, the Lower House approved Bill 8169 or the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Earlier in the day, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. assured that the 2019 national budget would be in line with the vision of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Andaya also dispelled allegations that the House version of the 2019 budget is "pork-filled", as he allayed fears of a reenacted budget for next year.

"Everything we are doing here is compliant with all the pertinent laws and the Supreme Court decision," he said.

House appropriations vice chairperson Maria Carmen Zamora, sponsor of the bill, said the PHP3.757-trillion budget is the first annual cash-based budget of the Philippine government anchored on the theme, “Building a Bright Future for the Philippines and its People”.

The theme is consistent with the Duterte administration’s goal of transforming the country into a middle-income society where everyone can make his or her life better through provision of infrastructure and human capital development.

She said the cash-based budgeting system promotes better planning and coordination among agencies, raises credibility of the government with its suppliers and contractors, supports the government's expansionary policy by addressing underspending, and modernizes the budgeting system.

Zamora said the PHP3.757 trillion cash-based budget is equivalent to 19.3 percent of gross domestic product, which is marginally higher compared to the 18.9 percent in 2018.

This is about PHP433 billion or 13 percent higher than the 2018 cash-based equivalent of PHP3.324 trillion.

Meanwhile, the chamber also approved on second reading House Joint Resolution No. 32, extending the availability of the 2018 appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (COs) until Dec. 31, 2019.

The joint resolution was introduced by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to HJR 32, there are appropriations that have not been released and allotment that have not been obligated, which shall automatically result in the reversion to the national treasury.

The resolution seeks to extend the validity of the MOOE and CO appropriations to fund priority projects, aid and relief activities as well as for the maintenance, construction/repair and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and other essential facilities of the national government.

Andaya said the joint resolution would ensure that there are funds available for the rehabilitation of Marawi City. (PNA)