Gatchalian: No winners if Duterte vetoes 2019 budget
MANILA, Philippines — “There can be no winners here if ever President Rodrigo Duterte decides to veto the 2019 budget.”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian issued the statement on Friday after the President threatened to veto the P3.757 trillion 2019 national budget.
Citing a study, Gatchalian pointed out that if Duterte vetoes the budget and the government continues to operate on a reenacted budget for the whole year, the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may slow down to 5.6 percent from the projected 6.7 percent.
This, he said, would be equivalent to a loss of P94.25 billion.
Infrastructure projects, particularly those slated for 2019, will be delayed, which would subsequently result to lesser available jobs to Filipinos, Gatchalian said.
Gatchalian then hoped that the President would exercise his power to line veto illegal items in the budget instead of vetoing the entire General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“Maaring may mga bagay sa budget na hindi mapagkasunduan ang Kamara at ang Senado pero sigurado ako na lahat kami ay gustong ma-isabatas na ang 2019 GAB sa lalong madaling panahon,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
Malacañang received a copy of the 2019 GAB on March 26, ending the stalemate between the Senate and House of Representatives due to alleged insertions and questionable allocations.
For his part, Senator Panfilo Lacson acknowledged that it is within the President’s legal authority to veto in whole or in parts the 2019 budget “if he and his economic team see it wise to do so.”
Lacson pointed out the 2019 national budget had been “subjected to abuse and indiscretions” by some legislators from both chambers of Congress.
“At the end of the day, it is greed and insatiability of those who cannot control their appetite for more and more ‘pork’ and all the perks and commissions that go with it,” the senator said in a separate statement.
Lacson vowed to “fight the next battle” when the National Expenditure Program for 2020 national budget is submitted by the President at the opening of the first regular session of the 18th Congress.
“It is tiring and frustrating, but I am always ready and able to fight another day for my career-long advocacy as an elected Senator of the Republic – that of fighting corruption, particularly in the authorization phase of the budgeting process,” Lacson said. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.