Manila Philippines – President Rodrigo R. Duterte may sign the PHP3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 before the Holy Week, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles said the Office of the President (OP) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are currently “vetting” the budget after receiving a copy of the General Appropriations Act (GAA) on March 26.
“We are hopeful that the President will sign the budget maybe this week or next week, hopefully before the Holy Week,” Nograles told reporters in an interview in Malacañang on Monday.
Nograles also assured that the President would include his veto message since it is already “part of the prerogative of the President.”
“Ideally, by practice, by historically, there is always a veto message ng Pangulo pagdating sa budget (of the President when it comes to the budget),” Nograles said.
He said signing the budget would allow the President to veto it rather than allow it to lapse into a law which will be approved without changes.
“Sinasabi ko lang before Holy Week maaring mapirmahan ni Pangulo yan just to be on the safe side na hindi sya mag lapse into law (I’m saying the President can sign this before the Holy Week just to be on the safe side that it doesn’t lapse into a law),” Nograles said.
“Kasi kung lapse into law yan at kumbaga magla-lapse, it will be approved as is yung kung ano ang sinubmit ng both houses of Congress (Because if it lapses into a law, because if it does, what both houses of the Congress submitted will be approved as is),” he added.
The disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives stemmed from the alleged post-ratification realignments made by the House in the spending measure which the Senate deemed unconstitutional.
Nograles, however, said he does not have any knowledge on what provisions the President’s veto message would contain.
He also emphasized the need for “closer coordination” between two houses of Congress to avoid another delay in the budget’s passage.
“Siguro (Perhaps) closer coordination. It really depends on sa (the) Congress,” Nograles said.
On the part of the executive, Nograles said that since President submitted the proposed budget as early as July 23, 2018, or 30 days before the deadline imposed by law, the Congress approval of the budget should have been quicker.
Nograles said the signing of the budget bill will also pave the way for the completion of infrastructure projects under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
“Ang gusto nating mangyari pag napirmahan na siya, habulin natin kung ano yung mga infra projects na nasa 2019 (What we want to happen is that once it is signed, we can catch up with infra projects for 2019),” Nograles said. Source: (PNA)