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Duterte threatens to veto 2019 national budget if found problematic

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Friday, April 12th, 2019

File photo: President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he might veto the P3.757 Trillion national budget for this year.

The Chief Executive made the statement at the PDP-LABAN campaign rally in Bacolod City, Thursday night (April 10), as he explained the importance of having allies in Congress for the administration to easily implement its programs and projects.

Duterte added that his legal team in Malacañang is ready to receive the proposed budget and once he finds out that it could just bring problems to the country, he will be left with no choice but to veto it.

The 2019 General Appropriations Act had been pending in Congress due to controversies surrounding it, such as the alleged insertions in the budget that will benefit several lawmakers.

This has prompted the government to operate on a reenacted budget since January this year.

“Kay hindi magkasundo ang Congress pati Senado eh. And ‘yung mga insertions diyan titingnan ko. Pagka tagilid talaga, I will — I will not to hesitate… I will not hesitate to veto the entire budget [since the House and the Senate are opposing each other. And I have to look into the insertions made. If it turns out to be problematic, I will not hesitate to veto the entire budget].”

The President’s economic managers had earlier said operating on a reenacted budget puts the country’s economy and the government’s infrastructure programs and projects in jeopardy.

The Palace, however, gave the assurance that contingency plans are in place in case the country will run on reenacted budget in the entire year.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo  said, “as to the possible repercussion on the economy of a re-enacted budget, our economic managers have contingency plans prepared, responsive to any conceivable event, and they will correspondingly adjust their targets, which include the execution of programs and projects relating to infrastructure as well as the delivery of basic services to the people.”

The President has until April 25 to either approve or veto the proposed bill before it lapses into law on April 26, even without his signature. – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Reenacted budget slowed down PH economic growth

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, May 9th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019. Witnessing the signing is Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

The Philippine’s economic growth has slowed down to 5.6% due to the delay in passing the 2019 national budget according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

According to Socio-economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country for the first quarter this year is the lowest in four years since 2015.

“This is the slowest growth rate recorded in 16 quarters, since the first quarter of 2015’s 5.1-percent growth,” Pernia said.

During the first quarter of 2018, the country’s GDP growth was at 6.5% while in December 2018, it went down to 6.3%.

The economic managers of the Duterte administration previously warned about the possible effect of the delayed budget approval.

Department of Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez raised the importance of passing the budget on time.

“That’s why it was very important for us, even for the next budget, to pass it on time. You know, we missed spending one billion pesos a day in the first four months – one billion pesos a day that could have gone to hiring more people to construct roads, to providing health care, to providing better education,” he said.

Dominguez added that the government needs to accelerate infrastructure spending.

“The specific measures are basically accelerating the spending. You accelerate the bidding process, you ask the DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) and the DOTR ( Department of Transportation) to move their projects faster. Those are the projects. And there are, I don’t know, thousands of projects that we are doing this thing on. That’s why it was so important to pass the budget on time. You know, all of these discussions about the budget really hurt the Filipino people,” he said.(with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Malacanang details vetoed line items in 2019 budget

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signs the 2019 General Appropriations Act at the Malacañan Palace on April 15, 2019. (King Rodriguez/Presidential Photo)

Malacanang has released the details of the line items in the 2019 national budget that were vetoed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

This, after the Chief Executive signed the Republic Act 11260 or the P3.757 Trillion General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2019 on Tuesday, April 16.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the President did not approve the last-minute insertions made by the House of Representatives in the national budget.

The vetoed provision of the budget are the line items under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) projects worth P95.374 billion, which Malacanang said violates the constitution.

The Palace pointed out that such projects are not in the priority program of the Duterte Administration.

“Those are the so-called insertions/ riders. They are not part of the program by the DPWH; hence, it violates the constitution. It’s violative of the constitution,” Panelo said.

Read: Andaya tells Malacañang: Bare vetoed parts in 2019 budget

Senator Panfilo Lacson has earlier disclosed that last minute realignments had been made in the budget for the benefit of several lawmakers who are allies of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Sec. Panelo reiterated what he calls as a very clear message by the President in signing the national budget.

“The message is you always follow the constitution. Any deviation from the constitution will not be approved by the President or will not be tolerated,” said Panelo.

Aside from the vetoed items, other provisions in the national budget shall be subjected to “conditional implementation in order to ensure conformity with existing laws, rules and regulations.”

Among them are the allowance and benefits of teachers and creation of teaching positions, construction of evacuation centers, funding for foreign-assisted projects, revolving fund, and lump-sum appropriations for capital outlays, as well as financial assistance to local government units and funding requirements of the country’s foreign service.  – Maris Federez (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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Duterte signs P3.7-T national budget for 2019

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Courtesy: Presidential Photo)

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the
P3.757 trillion national budget for 2019, Malacañang said on Monday.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed this in a text message sent to reporters.

Medialdea said Duterte signed the budget on April 15 but vetoed parts of the bill.

“The President, among others, vetoed P95.3 billion items of appropriations in the details of DPWH programs/projects, which are not within the programmed priorities,” Medialdea said.

Duterte signed the long-delayed budget without holding a ceremonial signing. Malacañang earlier said the scheduled signing of the 2019 spending program may be pushed back until after the Lenten season, pending the President’s review.

READ: Palace: Duterte may sign 2019 budget after Lenten break

Duterte earlier threatened to veto the entire budget if it is found problematic.

READ: Duterte threatens to veto 2019  national budget if found problematic

The government has been running on a reenacted budget since January after the Congress failed to pass the proposed 2019 spending program on time.

The 2019 General Appropriations Act was transmitted to the Office of the President after it was ratified by the House of Representatives and Senate in February.

However, its enactment was delayed due to alleged “unconstitutional” realignments that prompted Senate President Vicente Sotto III to sign the budget with “strong reservations” in late March.

Sotto and other senators had previously questioned the P75-billion worth of projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that were allegedly inserted by the lower house after the bill was ratified.

READ: Andaya hits Sotto’s “strong reservations” in signing 2019 budget bill 

But House members have maintained that the realignments were not illegal and, in turn, accused the Senate of snipping the budget for infrastructure projects.– Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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