On the 2019 National Budget

We urgently call on Congress and graciously urge it to approve the general budget in the soonest possible time, otherwise delay in its approval will affect the release of the funds for the salary hike of soldiers, policemen, teachers and civilian employees. It will also delay the commencement as well as the continuation of infrastructure projects, not to mention the adverse effect on the efficient delivery of social services. The maintenance and operating expenses will be impaired as they will not be fully covered. New capital expenditures will also be excluded.

Congress must not shirk from its constitutional duty to approve the General Appropriation Bill. The Executive has submitted the proposed general budget on the very day that the President delivered his State of Nation of Address, twenty nine (29) days earlier than the maximum period required by the Constitution, precisely to give Congress the ample time to review it and make amendments thereto. Further unreasonable delay on the part of Congress to approve the General Appropriation Bill that will throw a monkey wrench on the program of the administration will be unacceptable to the sovereign people that place them in office.

It behooves members of Congress to steer off partisan considerations and sweep away the indifference to the plight of the citizenry and collectively focus their attention to pass the General Appropriation Bill into law for the service of the people that they have sworn to protect.

As we face crisis and calamity one after the other, the swift passage of the General Appropriation Bill will merit approbation and accolade to all the members of Congress by a grateful nation.

Salvador S. Panelo Chief Presidential Legal Counsel & Presidential Spokesperson