Palace seeks for immediate passage of 2019 proposed budget
Malacanang has urged Congress to immediately pass the proposed P3.757 trillion budget for this year to avoid adverse effect on the economy and on the delivery of social services.
In a statement on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the General Appropriations Bill was part of the discussion during the Cabinet meeting, which President Rodrigo Duterte presided over in Malacanang on Monday.
"Congress must not shirk from its constitutional duty to approve the General Appropriation Bill," he said.
Panelo said Senate President Vicente Sotto III has expressed support on the Palace's call.
However, quoting Sotto, he said it appeared that the problem was with the House of Representatives.
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. reportedly has been threatening to file charges against Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno if the fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law for this year would not be released.
But Panelo, quoting Diokno, said it would not be possible without Congress passing the 2019 budget.
"That's why Secretary Diokno is saying, 'then file a case. It's a free country," he said.
"It's like, do your (Andaya) worst and we will do our best," Panelo stressed.
He noted that delay in the approval of the budget would affect release of the funds for the salary hike of soldiers, policemen, teachers, and civilian employees.
It would also delay the commencement as well as the continuation of infrastructure projects and it could also have an adverse effect on the efficient delivery of social services, he said.
"The maintenance and operating expenses will be impaired as they will not be fully covered. New capital expenditures will also be excluded," Panelo said.
"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," he added.
He also underscored the need to immediately pass the proposed budget as the country has been facing calamity after the other. Celerina Monte/DMS