PRRD won’t call for special session to approve nat'l budget

By Jelly Musico

December 14, 2018, 5:12 pm

MANILA -- Malacañang on Friday confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer be calling for a special session to finish deliberations on the proposed PHP3.7-trillion national budget for 2019.

“I would like to confirm the announcement that the President will not be calling for a special session on the request of the Senate,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.

Panelo said senators have told Duterte, through Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, that it would be “physically impossible” for them to hold a special session.

“I suppose there’s so many activities that will involve the attention, the presence of all members of Congress. So, in deference to that, the President is not calling (for a) special session,” he said.

The Senate held its last session on Thursday before the Christmas break. Congress will resume session on January 14.

Panelo said the Palace is disappointed with the failure of the Senate to pass on time the national budget for next year.

“We are of course disappointed that it did not pass as expected,” Panelo said.

“They have their own reasons why there was a delay in the approval of the budget. What is important to us is that, we did our duty and the failure is not on our part but on them,” he added.

He is hoping the non-passage of the national budget before the end of the year will not be repeated so as not to affect many services of the government.

Panelo said no commitment from the Senate as to when they would be able to pass the national budget.

“But I supposed they will… when they convene in the first week of January, they will be tackling that,” he said.

In a statement, Diokno said he is hoping senators will "act swiftly" for the enactment of the 2019 budget to lessen the negative impact of a “re-enacted one” on the economy.

“Since the capital spending is not re-enacted, public capital formation will suffer leading to loss of jobs and deeper poverty,” Diokno said. (PNA)