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House to pass budget Oct. 9

THE House of Representatives will approve on third and final reading the 2016 General Appropriations Act on Friday after the House leadership has requested President Benigno Aquino III to certify the budget bill.

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales said the request was intended for the Lower House to immediately forward the proposed 2016 P3.002-trillion General Appropriations Bill to the Senate because Congress is running out of time ahead of the election season.

“I requested a certification to make the budget bill an urgent measure because of the difficulty of passing it on third and final reading. We have an erratic schedule and Nov. 3 [resumption of session] falls on Tuesday. I really cannot tell if there are enough lawmakers. We will have difficulty to transmit that to the Senate. That is why I made a suggestion to certify it as urgent,” Gonzales said.

He lamented the chamber’s perennial problem in mustering a quorum and the disruption it has on legislative work, but Gonzales maintained there is no irregularity in their plan to pass the national budget on third and final reading.

“The probability of approving the national budget this Friday on third reading is not impossible. This is not unprecedented and in fact had been practiced before. This can be done immediately after the passage on second reading in the presence of a certification from the President,” Gonzales said.

Congress will go on three-week Halloween break starting this Saturday and will coincide with the filing of certificates of candidacy  from Oct. 12 to 16.

Gonzales had earlier disclosed the House leadership has requested the President to certify the national budget as an urgent measure. As of press time Tuesday, the Lower House has yet to receive the certification from the Palace.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. earlier said the Lower House will pass the budget on third reading this Friday as soon as the President certifies it as an urgent measure.

“The second reading approval of the national budget is assured and we will try for third reading. Our colleagues are committed to pass the national budget before we adjourn this week and we will not remiss on our legislative duty,” Belmonte earlier said.

 

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