Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III expressed full support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to veto P95.3 billion worth of appropriations for public works outside the programmed priorities of the national budget.
“The FY 2019 has just been signed with the line item veto in the total amount of P95 billion under DPWH covering projects that are not included in the programmed priorities,” Dominguez said in a message to reporters Tuesday.
“We fully support the president in his desire to focus national expenditure on projects and activities that redound to the benefit of all Filipinos and stimulate the growth of the economy, providing jobs and income opportunity for the least advantaged,” Dominguez said.
Duterte affixed his signature on the P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
The Office of the President received a copy of the 2019 General Appropriations Act on March 26, as Congress broke the months-long impasse between the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Duterte then spent almost three weeks reviewing the budget with his legal team, even warning the public that he would veto the spending bill in its entirety if his legal team found irregularities.
The Senate previously submitted an enrolled copy of the proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget to the Office of the President.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III, however, attached a letter citing his “strong reservations” about P75 billion worth of public works projects, recommending that the president veto the unconstitutional provisions.
House committee on appropriations chairperson Rolando Andaya Jr. hit back at the Senate, saying it “sabotaged” the government when it unilaterally decided to cut at least P83.7 billion allocation for the Duterte administration’s mega-infrastructure program and other priority programs.
Malacañang has yet to officially release the president’s veto message on the P95.3 billion worth of DPWH projects.
The interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee reduced its growth forecast for the Philippines this year to a range of 6 percent to 7 percent from the previous target of 7 percent to 8 percent, taking into account the delay in the approval of the national budget and external risks including the lingering trade war between the US and China.
Growth target was set at 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent for 2020 and 7 percent to 8 percent for 2021 to 2022.
According to estimates of the National Economic and Development Authority, a reenacted budget until April 2019 would bring down full-year GDP growth to 6.1 percent to 6.3 percent.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.