MALACAÑANG on Tuesday, August 20, expressed optimism over the timely passage of the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020.
In a press conference, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he was hopeful that Congress would avoid a repeat of the delayed passage of the 2019 national spending plan.
"Actually we do not have any guarantee. That depends on the members of Congress because they're the ones who deliberate on the budget," the Palace official told reporters in a press briefing.
"We can always hope that it will pass on time because any delay again will affect our economy. And I am sure the members of Congress know that," he added.
Earlier Tuesday, the Department of Budget Management submitted the proposed 2020 budget, which is 12 percent higher than the P3.757-trillion 2019 national budget.
The proposed 2020 budget allots P166.5 billion for Universal Health Care, P108.8 billion for Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, P70.6 billion for the development of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and P10 billion for the rice farmers' assistance.
It also seeks to allot P641.6 million for the initial operations of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and P622.3 million for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The national government operated on a reenacted 2018 budget from January to April 15, when the 2019 budget was finally signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The delayed passage of this year's budget spending was partly blamed for the economic slowdown.
Panelo said the Palace is expecting the timely passage of the budget proposal for this year, especially since the 18th Congress is dominated by Duterte's allies.
"We're always hopeful whether Congress is dominated by allies of President or not because after all as we said repeatedly members of Congress should know exactly what is good for the Filipino people being representatives of them," he said. (SunStar Philippines)