President Duterte at the 2018 State of the Nation Address where he outines his legislative agenda in front of Congress
MANILA -- If the Philippine government continues to operate on a reenacted budget, the country’s growth rate will take a blow, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said on Monday night.
Duterte made this remark warning that all Filipinos will suffer from declining gross domestic product (GDP) rate if delays in the approval of the proposed PHP3.757-trillion national budget will be prolonged.
He pointed out that even law enforcement authorities will suffer under a reenacted budget.
“Magkaron tayo ng slide sa GDP niyan (We’re going to have a slide in GDP) if we are going to reenact the budget everyone will suffer including the law enforcement,” Duterte said during the awarding ceremony for the Outstanding Women in Law Enforcement and National Security of the Philippines at the Heroes Hall in Malacañan Palace.
“It will decrease our GDP. Alam ninyo ‘yan e wala tayong pera panggastos to move one (You know, we won’t have money to move on). It’s everyday income that we expect so ‘yun ang pinagdedebatihan (it’s being debated on), he added.
Congress has yet to transmit the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2019 to the President due to a budget impasse between the two houses of Congress.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he will not sign an enrolled copy of the budget bill for the President’s signature if the lower chamber insists on its amendments.
Duterte acknowledged ongoing debates between the two houses and insisted that he would not sign “an illegal document.”
It was not clear whether Duterte was referring to the GAB for 2019.
“Nakadebate pa sila ngayon sa budget. Sabi ko (They’re still debating on the budget), I said my piece I will not sign anything that would be an illegal document,” Duterte said.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that although he is confident that Congress would eventually agree on the budget bill, he hopes the government would no longer have to operate on a reenacted budget until August.
“I’m sure they will be agreeing eventually kung ano iyong dapat nilang gawin (what they need to do). All of them naman are concerned about the welfare of the country,” Panelo said.
Panelo also reiterated that the President will exercise his power to veto the GAB if he feels that indeed the 2019 budget to be given to him does not conform to the Constitution.
Earlier, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia warned that Philippines GDP may fall below 6 percent this year if the approval of the 2019 budget continues to be delayed.
Economic managers have set a growth target between 7 and 8 percent from 2019 to 2022. (PNA) Photo: CTTO