Budget chief: No more call for special Congress session to approve 2019 budget

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Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said he would recommend to the President to call Congress to a special session to pass the 2019 budget bill. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14) — A special congressional session to pass the 2019 budget before the yearend is no longer in the works, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Friday.

"The Senate feels that it does not enough time to finish plenary debate. The House submitted the GAB (General Appropriations Bill) to the Senate with a great deal of delay," Diokno told CNN Philippines in a message.

READ: Budget chief to recommend to Duterte: Call for special Congress session on 2019 budget

Senate President Tito Sotto earlier said even if Congress is called to a special session next week, there is no more time to introduce amendments in the ₱3.757-trillion budget bill.

Congress adjourned on December 14 for the holidays, and will resume in January 14, 2019.

The Constitution states that until a new budget law is passed, government will operate on the previous year's budget, which, among others, means there are no new projects.

Diokno had said re-enacting the budget may cause delays in infrastructure projects, job losses, and higher poverty level. He added the reenacted budget could result in a economic growth impact of -1.1 to -2.3 percent in 2019.

The House of Representatives passed the budget bill on November 20.