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Lacson urges Senate to ‘rethink’ schedule for 2019 budget

Panfilo Lacson

Sen. Panfilo Lacson (File photo by JAM STA. ROSA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday urged the Senate to “rethink” its proposed time frame for passing the 2019 national budget, saying it would be “impossible to accomplish” with so many items that need to be tackled.

According to Lacson, the 271 items on the agenda will be “impossible” to take up before the close the period of interpellation this Friday, Dec. 7.

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“There are 271 items on the agenda, meaning agencies and offices,” Lacson said in a speech. “Even assuming that we work 24 hours a day, Mr. President, 271 divided by 72 hours, which is the equivalent of three days, we have to tackle 3.76 agencies in one hour.”

“Translated into minutes – 60 minutes – which is the equivalent of one hour, we will have to finish one agency, one office in 15 minutes. This is assuming we won’t have any breakfast break, we don’t have any lunch break, no dinner break, no weewee, no meryenda,” he added.

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Lacson insisted the task would be “impossible to accomplish.”

“So I would like to suggest that we have to rethink our position on the package of the 2019 budget, Mr. President,” he said.

Lacson said the Senate must discuss the proposed time frame in caucus before they “plunge into this kind of schedule.”

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that it might not be “physically possible” to have a proposed 2019 national budget signed by President Rodrigo Duterte by Dec. 15 because of the time frame.

Sotto, citing the time it would take to print the proposal and for it to be approved by the bicameral conference committee, blamed the House of Representatives for the delay of the passage of the 2019 national budget.

He noted that in 2017, the Senate was able to start deliberating on the national budget in October. But this year, he said they would only start their deliberations on the matter on Dec. 4.

READ: Sotto thinks Duterte can’t sign 2019 nat’l budget by Dec 15

/atm

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