Sotto sees Duterte sign budget as is

No veto is expected in the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 that President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign on Jan. 6, Malacañang said Thursday.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said no provisions in the proposed budget would be vetoed by the President. 

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations, said the national budget would be reflective of President Duterte’s vision for inclusive economic growth to give Filipinos a more comfortable life.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there was information from Sotto that the proposed budget for 2020 would be signed next Monday.

“He [Duterte] told me that he will sign it by the first week of January,” Panelo said.

“Senator Sotto, who appears to have received information, said it will be signed on January 6.”

Congress on Dec. 11 last year ratified the final version of the P4.1-trillion national budget bill for this year.

The pressure to pass the budget on time stemmed from the delayed passage of the 2019 budget that led to the national government’s use of a reenacted 2018 budget from January to mid-April last year.

The impending signing of the proposed budget for 2020 came despite Senator Panfilo Lacson’s recent claim that it contained 1,253 budget items amounting to P83.219 billion that would serve as the congressmen’s “source” of their “list” of 742 projects worth P16.342 billion.

Lacson earlier alleged that the provinces that had the biggest share of the alleged insertions were Albay (P670 million), Cavite (P580 million), Sorsogon (P570 million), Batangas (P502 million), Bulacan (P440 million), Pangasinan (P420 million) and Cebu (P410 million).

Panelo earlier guaranteed that Duterte would exercise his veto powers to remove the funds inserted in the proposed 2020 General Appropriations Act that will be found unconstitutional.

In his latest remarks, Panelo said he was not aware whether there were provisions that might be vetoed by the President.

“He has not mentioned anything to me,” he said when asked if the President was set to veto some unacceptable provisions of the proposed 2020 budget.

In the meantime, Duterte signed Republic Act 11464, which extends the validity of the 2019 national budget until Dec. 31, 2020, to allow the continuity of the appropriation of unobligated funds.

There are still at least P1.161-trillion unobligated funds under the 2019 GAA.

About P324.758 billion of the P1.161-trillion unobligated funds are for maintenance and other operating expenses, while the remaining P339.53 billion is for capital outlays. With Maricel V. Cruz

Topics: 2020 national budget , Rodrigo Duterte , Vicente Sotto III , House of Representatives
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