MANILA Senator Panfilo Lacson on Friday said the deletion of the PHP75 billion allegedly inserted in the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would prove to be "contentious" during the congressional bicameral conference for the proposed 2019 national budget.
In a statement, Lacson said convincing the contingent of the House of Representatives in the bicam panel to scrap "major portions of their realignments" in the 2019 budget would be a "challenge", as he earlier raised suspicion that congressmen were allotted PHP60 million each from the PHP75-billion insertion.
He said the Senate also must stand firm on its position following its move to delete the controversial additional funding for the public works department. The motion was raised by Lacson.
"While we may be on the same page on the PHP75-billion adjustment in the NEP (National Expenditure Program) made by (Budget) Secretary (Benjamin) Diokno, deleting the same in its present form will be contentious simply because while they chopped it, they also redistributed the amount in a 'pork-to-pork' fashion," he said.
Lacson said he expects the bicam meeting next week to be "bloody" and "sweaty" as both chambers iron out differences in their respective versions.
"I don't even want to predict how many back-and-forth discussions will take place before we can agree to sign the bicam report," he said.
The Senate already terminated the period of interpellations for the proposed PHP3.757 trillion national budget for 2019 on Wednesday.
The Senate leadership is eyeing the second and third reading approval of the 2019 budget on Monday.
The bicam meeting is also expected on the same day. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency