Philippine Star

Malacañang on Monday, January 7, urged the lawmakers to expedite the approval process of the the 2019 budget noting that any further delay in the passing is not a feat acceptable to the Filipino public.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the “unreasonable delays” of the legislation in the approval of the General Appropriations Bill would hinder the implementation of government projects and programs.

“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,” Panelo said.

“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,” he added as reported by Rappler.

The palace spokesman urged the legislators to veer away from partisan politics and focus on their duties so that they could further provide the service that they promised the Filipino people should they be elected.

“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,” Panelo stated.

In an article from The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the presidential legal counsel also enumerated the domino effect that the delay would entail. He explained that the government services will be compromised if the 2019 national budget would not be approved as soon as possible.

“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 would be impaired as they will not be fully covered,” Panelo explained.

Panelo emphasized that the executive branch have nothing to do with the delay noting that the office of President Rodrigo Duterte submitted the budget proposal way ahead of time so that the lawmakers could assess it better.  

“(The executive branch) 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,” the spokesperson said.

“Congress must not shirk from its constitutional duty to approve the General Appropriation Bill. The swift passage of the General Appropriations Bill will merit approbation and accolade to all the members of Congress by a grateful nation,” he added. 

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