THE NEWLY SIGNED 2020 national budget amounting to P4.1 trillion passed without any veto from President Rodrigo R. Duterte, though he imposed conditions on some spending items.
According to the President’s budget message released late Tuesday, Mr. Duterte specified “conditional implementation” for some items in the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The Department of Budget and Management said according to its evaluation, the 2020 budget has no vetoable provisions, but added that some items could be subject to conditional implementation to remain compliant with budget rules.
In a budget briefing Wednesday, the DBM’s Director for Legal Services Ryan S. Lita said no items in the 2020 General Appropriations Fund (GAA) were likely to be vetoable.
“Based on the review by the DBM, we didn’t find any item…that is strongly objectionable vis-a-vis existing laws and policies, and which cannot be addressed by conditional implementation,” he said.
The P4.1-trillion national spending plan, the largest national budget to date, was ratified by both houses of Congress on Dec. 12. The signed version maintained the total amount approved by Congress.
In his budget message, Mr. Duterte said: “I am duty bound to subject the following provisions to specific conditions prior to implementation, in order to faithfully comply with existing laws, policies, and rules and regulations, for the effective and efficient utilization of public funds.”
The items subject to conditions include foreign travels of government officials and employees; the Last Miles Schools Program of the Department of Education (DepEd); the resettlement of families or individuals affected by infrastructure projects under the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Department of Transportation (DoTr); assistance and subsidies provided by the DepEd; the supplementary feeding program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); the DSWD’s protective services program; funding for foreign assisted projects; the DepEd’s quick response fund; Special funds including the Department of Finance’s (DoF) Rewards and Incentive Fund; the Department of Tourism’s (DoT) Tourism Development Fund; the DoF’s use of fees and other receipts of the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Technological Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA) Tulong Trabaho Fund; and the National Economic Development Authority’s (NEDA) Innovation Fund; and the release of funds for regions affected by earthquakes and for Marawi’s rehabilitation.
When he signed the 2019 budget, Mr. Duterte vetoed billions of pesos worth of items, reducing the P3.7-trillion budget as legislated to P3.6 trillion. — Gillian M. Cortez