In this file photo, President Duterte signs papers. The president signed the 2019 national budget on Monday, April 15.
File photo
Duterte signs P3.7-trillion national budget for 2019
Alexis Romero ( - April 15, 2019 - 8:09pm

MANILA, Philippines — The much-delayed P3.757-trillion national budget for this year was signed into law without fanfare on Monday, with President Rodrigo Duterte vetoing some items that are not part of the administration's priorities. 

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed in a text message that Duterte affixed his signature on the spending bill on Monday. 

He said the president thumbed down more than P95 billion in public works projects because they are not included in the administration's priorities.

"Yes. Signed. Vetoed P95.3 (billion) for being not part of the president's projects," Medialdea said in a text message. 

"The president, among others, vetoed P95.3 billion items of appropriations in the details of DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) programs/projects, which are not within the programmed priorities," he added.

Asked if Duterte found the vetoed items unconstitutional, Medialdea said: "No, not part of the president's priority projects."

A Palace advisory released last week said the signing ceremony for the 2019 budget would be held on April 15. The advisory was recalled, with officials saying the ceremony has been removed from the president's schedule. 

It was the first time at least in recent memory that no ceremony was held for the signing of the national budget. The decision not to hold a ceremony for the budget signing came after lawmakers locked horns over the alleged last-minute insertions in spending bill. 

Last week, Duterte threatened to veto the entire budget if he thinks it is "problematic."

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