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Budget bill certified as urgent

05:00 AM September 20, 2019

President Duterte has decided to certify the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget to avoid delays in its passage that may impede the delivery of basic services and economic programs.

Malacañang said the President certified the measure on Tuesday to stress the importance of prioritizing its passage and the government’s mandate to serve and protect.

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“In certifying the urgency of the budget bill, the President wants to convey to the members of Congress the importance of passing the general appropriations bill (GAB) on time to avoid a repeat of a reenacted budget that wreaked havoc on the economic program of this administration, affected the timely delivery of basic services to the people and, ultimately, slowed our growth during the first quarter of this year,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Fearing a reenacted budget

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“Government operations must never be hampered and our constitutional mandate to serve the Filipino people must prevail over partisan considerations and constant differences or varying interpretations on the budget,” he added.

The Palace official was referring to the fact that the government operated on a reenacted budget for the first four months of 2019, slowing down economic growth and the implementation of programs.

Lawmakers were locked in an impasse over the budget, trading accusations on alleged insertions in the 2019 national budget.

The President signed the P3.757-trillion budget in April, but vetoed P95.3 billion in projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which were not in the programmed priorities.

Confident of passage

Earlier, House committee on ways and means chair Rep. Joey Salceda expressed optimism that the lower chamber is capable of passing the proposed 2020 budget before the end of September.

He said each lawmaker would have P100 million for their districts’ projects, of which P70 million will go to infrastructure projects and P30 million to soft programs like medical assistance.

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House leaders said they expected passage in record time on Friday of the budget to “move the nation forward,” after its economic growth crawled due to delay in the passage of the 2019 budget.

“The need to pass the budget on time is of immense importance in helping boost the economy, that is why we thank President Duterte for certifying the budget as an urgent measure,” said Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, House appropriations committee chair.

One-day approval

The President’s certification allows Congress to pass the P4.1-trillion proposed budget on second and third readings on the same day, according to Ungab.

“Thus, it is possible that the [GAB] will be passed this Friday, since it was already certified as urgent,” he said.

House Majority Floor Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez assured Filipino taxpayers that the 2020 budget will be a “reflection not only of the President’s vision, but also of the people’s will.”

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TAGS: 2020 national budget, b udget, Government, Rodrigo Duterte
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