Duterte laments economy slows due to budget delay
President Rodrigo Duterte has said that the economy has slowed down due to the delay on the passage of the P3.757 trillion budget for this year.
In a speech in Davao City where he attended the miting de avance of the local candidates on Friday night, Duterte lamented that due to the impasse on the budget, big businesses were also affected.
"We weren't able to spend anything because we didn't have the budget. Everyday, the economy in a barangay moves because money circulates. People have salaries. But now, in a city as big as this, there are businesses affected because of the lack of business transactions," he aid.
"So, our GDP (gross domestic product) will really decrease. We lost a lot, may be around billions. If there are no transactions, money will not circulate," the President added.
The economy grew 5.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, lower than the full-year target of 6 percent to 7 percent.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia blamed the reenacted budget for the lower GDP growth.
Duterte only signed into law the 2019 budget last April instead of December last year because of the accusations thrown to each other by the Senate and the House of Representatives of "insertions" in the General Appropriations Bill.
When he signed the 2019 General Appropriations Act, the President vetoed P95 billion in the enrolled bill.
Duterte, in his speech in Davao City, said that he had to veto the entire P95 billion to be fair to both the Senate and the House.
"The projects of the congressmen were delayed because I vetoed the budget. It is really difficult. The Senate was aggrieved. So to make it fair for everyone, I vetoed it all," he said.
He also assured that he would distribute the government's fund all over the Philippines, irrespective of political affiliations of the leaders in those places.
"That is why when I have the money, I'll decide how to distribute it. But I'd like to assure everybody that all throughout the Philippines, the money will be divided by regions and equally as needed. As equally as needed," he said.
"The bigger your project is, the bigger your budget will be. Whereas if it's a small project, your project will be smaller too. And you can't ask for more than what you need. For as long as I am the President, the budget will be distributed to everyone," Duterte said.
"This won't affect the other parties and the opposition. It doesn't mean anything to me because I can't run for other positions anymore. So the budget will be released to everyone and there will be no complaints," he added. Celerina Monte/DMS