Duterte threatens to veto 2019 national budget if found problematic
Maris Federez • April 12, 2019 • 1771
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)
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte officially signed last week the measure extending the validity of the 2019 National Budget until December 31, 2020.
Signed on December 20, the new Republic Act 11464 which amended Section 25 of the 2019 General Appropriations Act states that: “All appropriations authorized in this Act shall be available for release and obligation for the purpose specified, and under the same special provision applicable thereto, until December 31, 2020.”
The new measure will allow government agencies to spend this year’s fund, particularly for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until the end of next year.
The measure is to address the government’s need for budget after the delay in the passage of the 2020 National Budget and the implementation of the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects.
The MOOE covers the budget for daily operations of government units.
The President already certified as urgent the passing of the 2020 National Budget.
It is expected to be signed in January next year. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Tuesday approved on third and final reading a measure seeking to extend the validity of the 2019 national budget until next year.
Nineteen of the senators present in the hearing voted to approve House Bill No. 5437 which would allow agencies to spend until December 2020 the funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays in the 2019 national budget.
The bill amends Section 65 of Republic Act 11260 or the 2019 General Appropriations Act.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Finance committee, said the measure’s approval will greatly help all government agencies involved in relief efforts such as the recent series of earthquakes in Mindanao.
He added that the bill will also ensure the availability of over P12 billion from the Calamity Fund and other quick response funds lodged with various agencies.
“Through this measure, we would be extending a big helping hand to the Executive Branch which has had to operate during the first few months of this year on a re-enacted budget and the rest under pressure to spend up to P3.687 trillion of total available appropriations in a span of seven to eight months approximately amidst the election ban on government projects this year,” Angara said in a statement.
“We do this because under RA 11260 or the 2019 GAA and Executive Order No. 91 on the implementation of a cash-budgeting system, all appropriations that were not released, obligated or paid by the Dec. 31, 2019 shall lapse and revert to the national treasury,” he added.
It can be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte signed in April the P3.7-trillion national budget with vetoed provisions following alleged insertions in the bill, which led to its impasse and forced the government to operate on a reenacted 2018 budget.
“The Senate is not oblivious to the travails of the Executive Branch and we must help them. We must see to it that the national budget we approved for 2019 would benefit our people in terms of better services and more efficient public spending,” said Angara.
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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