Duterte to sign 2019 national budget on April 15

President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to sign the Php 3.7-trillion national budget for 2019 on Monday, April 14, according to a lawmaker.

Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Sarte Salceda announced Wednesday on social media that finally the General Appropriations Act (GAA) 2019 will be approved by the President on a signing ceremony to be held at Malacanang Palace, around 4:30 PM of Monday.

He received the communication from Presidential Legislative Liaison Office (PLLO), an agency under the Office of the President tasked to officially orchestrate the formulation and the shepherding of the President’s Legislative Agenda and all other concerns on legislature.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles also said Tuesday that Duterte will sign the before the Holy Week as the Office of the President (OP) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) are currently “vetting” it after receiving a copy of the GAA on March 26.

“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. (With reports from PNA)

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