Palace optimistic Senate, House will break impasse on 2018 budget

MANILA -- MalacaAang on Monday expressed optimism that the Senate and the House of Representatives would be able to thresh out their differences and pass the proposed 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) and avoid a reenacted budget for next year.

In a Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Executive is confident that the two chambers of Congress would pass the budget as requested by MalacaAang.

I can't comment on a purely speculative matter. I cannot believe that the House and the Senate cannot agree on next year's budget, he said.

I have all the confidence the Palace has all the confidence that we will have a budget pursuant to the request made by the Palace, because this budget is crucial to the Build, Build, Build program of the government intended to alleviate poverty in this country, Roque said.

The Palace spokesperson issued the statements when asked about the possibility of a reenacted budget next year as the House and the Senate are deadlocked over certain provisions in the proposed PHP 3.767-trillion 2018 budget.

Among the contentious issues included the PHP50 billion cut made by the Senate in the Department of Public Works and Highways budget; and the realignment of PHP900 million for Oplan Double Barrel and PHP500 million for the Masa Masid program of the Department of the Interior and Local Government to the housing program of police and soldiers, as well as body cameras for cops.

If Congress fails to pass the proposed budget when the fiscal year begins, the PHP 3.35 trillion 2017 budget will be automatically reenacted.

The possibility of a reenacted budget was raised after both chambers vowed to defend their respective versions.

Congress is set to hold its last session on December 13.

Source: Philippine News Agency