Palace asks Congress to end budget stalemate
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged the Senate and House of Representatives to break the impasse on the 2019 national budget to give way for its signing.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the call Wednesday after the lawmakers failed to reach a consensus on the national budget even after a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in the Palace.
The legislative branch is supposed to transmit the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) to the President for signing, but “itemizations” of lump sum portions of the budget caused further delays in the budget process. The two chambers of Congress traded allegations over the last-minute changes reportedly made in the ratified version of the budget.
“There is a budget impasse due to some constitutional questions raised by both chambers. Only Congress can resolve and break this impasse,” Panelo said in a statement.
“We call on the Senators and Representatives to break the stalemate and deliver to the Filipino people an appropriations law that can aid this government better their lives and help our country move forward,” he added.
The government is currently operating on a reenacted budget after Congress failed to pass the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget on time.
Duterte, in a speech on Monday, said that a reenacted budget throughout the year will cause a contraction in the gross domestic product (GDP). He also gave his assurance that he will veto the budget if it is “illegal.”
Panelo, however, assured the public that the government is prepared to cushion the impact of a reenacted budget.
“The delivery of public services to our countrymen will be maintained,” he said. /je
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