MANILA, Philippines — The submission of the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 came a month late, according to a party-list member of the House of Representatives.
Rep. Michael Romero, part owner of budget airline Air Asia and representing the party-list group of marginalized athletes 1-Pacman, said the budget should have been submitted in June or July.
This, he said, would give Congress, especially the House of Representatives, time to deliberate on the funding proposal.
The budget is normally submitted to Congress a few days after the President delivers his state of the nation address. In this case, President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his Sona last July 22 while the proposed national budget for 2020 was submitted on Aug. 20.
According to Romero, Congress needed at least six months “or more to finish the budget.”
The President would sign the budget in the sixth or seventh month after the submission, he added.
Plenary debates on the budget started only last Tuesday, Sept. 10, but House leaders said they were confident the chamber would pass the funding measure by Oct. 4.
Congressmen’s requests for more funds for their districts, which were normally sources of kickbacks, had caused a delay in House action on the budget.
According to Romero, the “budget season really starts” sometime June or July.
He said the government already lost at least P465 billion in revenue because of the delay in the approval of the 2019 budget which was also caused by legislators fighting over kickbacks from pork barrel funds.
According to Romero, a delay in the budget costs the government P77.2 billion a month, or P6.4 billion a day. “Economically, that’s the effect of a delayed budget,” he said.
“Hopefully, our economic managers can catch up,” Romero added/TSB
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