Signing of 2020 budget set

By: Julie M. Aurelio - Philippine Daily Inquirer | January 04,2020 - 11:26 AM

President Duterte will sign the P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget on Jan. 6.

Malacañang officials on Friday confirmed the expected signing of the budget into law, but did not say if the President would veto certain items in the spending measure.

“Confirmed,” said Adelino Sitoy, secretary of the Presidential Legislative Liaison Office in a text message when asked if Mr. Duterte will sign the budget on Monday.

Acting Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado also affirmed the scheduled Jan. 6 signing of the spending measure.

This was after the Department of Budget and Management and the Office of the President completed its review of the budget, which was transmitted to the Palace in December.

Both officials, however, declined to say if Mr. Duterte will veto certain items in the budget on grounds that these provisions might be unconstitutional.Avisado said he did not know if the Chief Executive would veto any item in the enrolled general appropriations bill.

“Let’s wait for the President’s pronouncements. We do not preempt the President since he is the head of the executive department,” he said.

Saying he did not want to second guess Mr. Duterte, Avisado added: “We always defer to him being under his supervision and control.”

It may be recalled that in December, the President signed a measure extending the validity of appropriations in the 2019 budget until Dec. 31, 2020.This was after Congress ratified the proposed 2020 national budget, which was transmitted to the Palace that same month.1st week of 2020Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President was likely to sign the proposed spending measure into law in the first week of January 2020.

He also reassured that Mr. Duterte would scrutinize the budget and veto any unconstitutional items, amid allegations by Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the House’s insertions might involve P83 billion worth of projects.

Last year, the Chief Executive signed the P3.757 billion budget in April due to a budget impasse over allegations of pork barrel insertions.

The President then vetoed P95.3 billion in appropriations for projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways, which were not in the government’s programmed priorities.

Aware of the effects of a reenacted budget, Mr. Duterte in September 2019 certified the proposed 2020 national budget as urgent to avoid impairing the government’s economic program and delivery of basic services, which dulled the country’s growth in the first quarter of 2019.

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