President Duterte said the delayed passage of the 2019 budget had affected the government’s expenditure on key items, including his Build Build Build infrastructure program.
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Duterte wants faster budget deliberation
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has called for a faster budget deliberation process as he blamed the delay in the passage of this year’s spending bill for the country’s slower economic growth.

Duterte said the delayed passage of the 2019 budget had affected the government’s expenditure on key items, including his Build Build Build infrastructure program.

“Now, look what happens when you tinker with the budget. The budget was not there for three months. So no spending, no activity, nobody was paying, nobody was buying because there was no money especially the Build Build Build,” Duterte said during the oath taking of local officials in Davao City last Friday. 

“We suffered, how much? Almost P72 billion. Our (gross domestic product or GDP) weakened. GDP is income, period, for a quarter. Medyo nag-dive tayo kasi ‘yon nga ‘yung budget na-hostage (We took a slight nosedive because the budget was held hostage). So that is how I proposed to do. Let us move faster,” he added. 

Congress failed to pass this year’s P3.662-trillion national budget on time as House and Senate leaders had accused each other of making last-minute changes to the spending bill.

The delay forced the Duterte administration to operate on a reenacted 2018 budget in the first quarter. 

The President signed the 2019 budget in April but vetoed public works projects with a total allocation of P95.37 billion. In his veto message, Duterte did not call the vetoed projects illegal but maintained that he would not allow attempts to circumvent the Constitution or any other action that would prejudice the Filipino people.

The delayed passage of the budget, which stalled state spending, was one of the factors blamed for the slower-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter. 

The growth of the country’s GDP, the sum total of all goods and services produced in an economy, slowed to 5.6 percent in the first three months, the weakest since the 5.1 percent expansion in the first quarter of 2015.

It was slower than the 6.5 percent growth recorded in the first quarter of 2018 and the revised 6.3 percent growth in the fourth quarter of the same year. 

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia previously claimed that the economy could have grown by 6.6 percent in the first quarter had the government operated under the 2019 budget. 

Public construction also slowed down by 8.6 percent in the first three months because of delays in the construction of government infrastructure.

BUDGET DELIBERATION BUILD BUILD BUILD
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