Duterte Administration

Duterte not keen to sign ‘illegal’ 2019 budget

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Monday, March 11, that he would not sign the Congress-approved P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019, if the line items in the general appropriations bill are deemed “illegal.”

Duterte made the assurance to the public amid the apparent squable between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the proposed 2019 budget.

“Nag-dedebate pa sila ngayon sa budget (The Congress is still debating on the budget). I said my piece. I will not sign anything that would be an illegal document,” the President said in a speech delivered at Palace.

Earlier Monday, Senate President Vicente Sotto III once again floated the possibility that the government would operate on a re-enacted budget for the rest of the year, if the House of Representatives insists on amending Congress-ratified 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Sotto said he had already told House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that the “original version of the ratified GAB should be retained.

Sotto also warned that the proposed 2019 budget would have to be archived and be refiled in the 18th Congress, if the House refuses to keep the bicameral-approved GAB.

Senator Panfilo Lacson had claimed that the House of Representatives manipulated the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 by inserting a package of multibillion-peso pork barrel allocations.

Lacson had said Arroyo has “no business or legal authority to prepare and impose the menu list of the Department of Health appropriations for Health Facilities Enhancement Program worth P25 million in individual allocations for her favored congressmen, including a P2.5-million allocation for the purchase of an ambulance.”

While Duterte pledged to reject the proposed 2019 budget that will be considered unacceptable, he warned that the a re-enacted budget might affect the country’s economic stability.

“Magkaroon tayo ng slide sa GDP niyan (We will suffer a slide in GDP or gross domestic product) if we are going to re-enact the budget. Everybody will suffer, including the law enforcement,” the President said.

“It will decrease our GDP. Alam ninyo iyan, eh walang perang pang-gastos (You know that, we have don’t have the money) to move on. It’s an everyday income that we expect,” he added.

In a press conference held at Palace earlier Monday, Presidnetial Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the executive branch remains hopeful that the government will not operate on a re-enaced budget until August.

Panelo said the Palace was still optimistic that the Senate nad the House of Representatives would reconcile their difference so they would be able to transmit the budget to Duterte’s office.

“I’m sure they will be agreeing kung ano ‘yung dapat nilang gawin (on what they should do). All of them are concerned about the weldare of the country,” the Palace official said.

source:  SunStar Philippines



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