Philippines: Duterte to sign 2019 budget before Holy Week

  • President Duterte is likely to sign the long delayed 2019 budget program before the Holy Week break next week, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
  • The President, he said, might veto some parts of the appropriations program, but he clarified he was not sure if it would involve the PHP75bn pork barrel insertions of the House of Representatives.
  • Duterte had publicly vowed not to sign a budget measure that would be found with provisions deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
  • Due to the delay, Nograles also said the executive branch might ask for a joint resolution from members of the next Congress to extend the validity of the 2019 budget beyond the fiscal year, allowing the disbursement of the 2019 appropriations until end 2020.
  • The Palace is inclined to request for such authority if it is not provided for in the 2019 budget, the Palace official said. Such authority, he said, is aimed at speeding up the implementation and completion of infrastructure projects.
  • Without such authority, some projects for 2019 may have to be carried over to 2020, hence crowding out some projects intended for 2020.
  • Since the government is now working on a re-enacted budget, Nograles admitted that many of the administration’s infrastructure projects have been derailed, particularly those that have not yet started.
  • With the additional provision, it allows concerned government agencies, particularly the Department of Public Works and Highways, to implement infrastructure projects set for 2019 – especially at the onset of the election ban and the rainy season.
  • Nograles also noted there should be closer coordination between Malacañang and the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO) in the future on the crafting of a national expenditure program.

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