MANILA, Philippines —The possible joint session on Wednesday next week to tackle the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao might further derail the passage of the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget, Senator Miguel Zubiri said Friday.
“That will delay the budget schedule because we start 10 in the morning everyday. Definitely it will delay because we have to travel siyempre pupunta kami sa Kongreso para sa joint session dahil diyan talagang maaantala ang passage of the budget on Wednesday,” Zubiri told reporters in an interview.
Zubiri made the remark after Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that President Rodrigo Duterte might call for a joint session on December 12 for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Zubiri explained senators are eyeing the passage of the proposed measure for the 2019 national budget on second and third reading also on December 12, and subsequently ratify it likewise next week.
The Senate is pressed for time to pass the national budget within the year, as the House of Representatives approved the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on final reading only on November 20.
Under the rules, the GAB must first be passed in the House before it is transmitted to the Senate.
“Ang plano kasi namin by Wednesday sana ma-second and third reading na namin ang budget (bill) and then proceed now to a bicam (bicameral…) and maybe have a special session next week to ratify,” Zubiri said.
The senator then asked the President to call for a morning session on Wednesday so senators can still proceed with the budget deliberations later in the afternoon.
“Kaya ang pakiusap ko po sa Malacañang kung magtatawag po sila ng joint session sana sa umaga ng Wednesday hindi po hapon, kasi kapag hapon talagang alanganin na kasi ang plano po namin kung magtatawag sila ng special session ng umaga pupunta po kami ng Kongreso para don at babalik po kami ng hapon at least by one o’clock we will resume consideration on the budget bill,” he said. /kga
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