Duterte urges swift passage of 2020 budget

MANILA – To ensure the implementation of infrastructure projects, President Rodrigo Duterte urged the Congress for a swift passage of the P4.1-trillion proposed 2020 national budget.

Duterte’s order came after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) report last week that showed a slower second quarter growth of the economy this year.

Based on PSA, the gross domestic product only grew 5.5-percent in the second quarter, slower than the 5.6-percent in the first quarter and 6.2-percent during the same period in 2018.

The slow growth of the economy was attributed to the El Niño phenomenon, the election ban in May on public works, infrastructure and related spending, the budget impasse, and other external factors.

Duterte and his Cabinet members approved the proposed 2020 national budget during a Cabinet meeting last week. It is now ready for submission to the Senate and the House of Representatives for scrutiny.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the budget proposal was “designed to respond to the needs of the majority of our countrymen longing” with education, public works, transportation, and health getting the highest budgetary allocations.

Among the priority programs under the 2020 budget are infrastructure development and the implementation of new and critical government programs and policies such as the Universal Health Care Act, the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the Rice Tariffication Act, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Programs Act, and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development Act.

Other priority programs to be funded under next year’s appropriations include the K-12 program, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, the Unconditional Cash Transfer Program, the Risk Resiliency Program, and the Coastal Resource Management Program.

Last year, Duterte transmitted the 2019 budget to Congress on the day he delivered his third State of the Nation Address but its ratification was delayed until earlier this year./PN


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