House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has assured that there will be no delay or adverse effects to be encountered if the national budget for 2020 is not signed into law before yearend.

Cayetano made the assurance following the statement of Acting Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado that the 2020 budget is now scheduled to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte by the first week of January.

The veteran legislator, however, still remains hopeful that the spending bill will be enacted into law by yearend as originally scheduled.

“But even if it is signed on January 6, no delay will occur.”

“I am still hoping na mapirmahan before January 1. Kahit mapirmahan ng January 6 wala namang delay na mangyayari, tuloy tuloy parin yun (I am still hoping that it could be signed into law before January 1. But even if it is signed on January 6, no delay will occur. The [programs] would still continue),” the seasoned lawmaker said.

He noted that Congress has already sent copies of the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget to Malacañang for a thorough review.

“We rushed it so that they could receive at least 25 copies.”

“Today lang nareceive ng Malacanang because of the printing. Nung una niru-rush namin kahit 25 copies muna (Malacañang just received the copy today because of the printing. We rushed it so that they could receive at least 25 copies),” Cayetano said.

The Speaker said the President can always use his veto power if he finds any disagreeable provision in the budget measure.

“Nagbigay na kami ng double assurance kasi ang mag-eexecute naman ng budget ay ang executive branch. (We already gave our double assurance because the one responsible to execute the budget is the executive branch.) First check is to look if there is anything very disagreeable, they can veto,” he said.

To avert another reenacted budget scenario, senators and congressmen comprising the bicameral conference committee have approved on Dec. 11 the final version of the P4.1-trillion national budget bill for 2020.

The national government was forced to operate under a reenacted 2018 budget from January to mid-April 2019 because of the squable between the Senate and the House of Representatives over the supposed insertions and realignments made by some lawmakers in the P3.757-trillion budget for 2019.

The ratification of the proposed 2020 budget met the strict timeline set by the two chambers, despite the supposed last-minute insertions worth P83 billion made in the last few days of the bicameral deliberations.


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