House eyes passing 2020 budget by October

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 24) — The House of Representatives wants to pass next year’s budget early, aware that delays in the passage of the 2019 budget led to a slowdown in the country’s economy.

House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez met Wednesday with House Appropriations committee chair Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab to find ways to pass the 2020 budget before the end of October.

Also in the meeting were Deputy Speaker Prospero “Butch” Pichay, and Reps. David Suarez, Joey Salceda and Fredenil Castro.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said the upper chamber aims to approve the 2020 budget before December.

The House passed the 2019 budget in November over allegations of insertions, hardly giving the Senate any time to scrutinize the spending bill before Congress adjourned for its Christmas break.

Controversies continued to hound the budget even after its approval by Congress, as the House leadership admitted to tinkering with it even if it had already hurdled the bicameral conference committee.

Economic growth slowed down to a four-year low of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of the year largely due to the delayed passage of the budget.

Budget Officer-in-Charge Janet Abuel earlier said they will wait until Congress' leadership is settled before they formally submit the President's National Expenditure Program to the House of Representatives. The Budget department has until August 21 to do that.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.