MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang disagreed with the proposal of Senate President Vicente Sotto III to just implement a reenacted budget for 2019.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, on Thursday, January 31, said a reenacted budget would bring down the country’s economy and "severely" affect the Duterte administration’s infrastructure projects.
“A reenacted budget as a result of a budget impasse would hurt our economy,” said Panelo, before repeating the projections of the country's economic managers that a reenacted budget would shave off one to 2.3 percentage points from the gross domestic product.
“Our Build Build Build infrastructure projects, which are in various stages of implementation, would severely be affected… Programs of various departments this year intended for poverty reduction, health promotion, and peace and security advancement, to mention a few, would be inevitably affected as well,” he added.
Duterte’s spokesman then spoke favorably of the commitment of some lawmakers to approve the 2019 budget by February 6 or February 8.
“The honorable members of Congress know of the dire consequences of a reenacted budget and we are appreciative of the statement made by some members of the bilateral committee that it will endeavour to pass the General Appropriations Bill next week,” said Panelo.
A frustrated Sotto had said on Wednesday, January 30, that he would just recommend a reenacted budget for the entire 2019 given all the accusations of “insertions” and “pork barrel” in the 2019 budget deliberations.
But in the bicameral conference committee, where senators and members of the House of Representatives in charge of the national budget met to resolve differences and address concerns, there was no mention of a reenacted budget.
Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate finance sommittee, said she was willing to hold a special session until February 8 in order to finalize the 2019 budget. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.