PH GROWTH RATE MAY SLOW DOWN DUE TO BUDGET DELAY
MANILA -- A senator on Wednesday warned that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) for this year may slow down to 6 percent, or an estimated loss of PHP67.2 billion, if the government continues to operate on a reenacted budget.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, said a reenacted budget could slash the country's growth rate, which may fall short of the 6.7 percent GDP forecast.
"The 2019 GAA (General Appropriations Act) needs to be enacted as soon as possible to prevent adverse implications on our macroeconomy and ensure that basic services provided to the public will not be affected," Gatchalian said.
"Based on our own internal computation, should the government continue to operate on a reenacted budget until August, the country’s Gross Domestic Product for 2019 may slow to 6 percent -- equivalent to a loss of PHP67.2 billion -- from the original forecast of 6.7 percent," he added.
Gatchalian said even President Rodrigo Duterte himself stressed that he would not sign “an illegal document.”
"Si Pangulong Duterte na mismo ang nagsabi na hindi niya pipirmahan ang illegal na budget kaya kailangang sumunod ang House of Representatives sa kung ano ang napag-usapan at nakapagkasunduan ng bicam committee (The President himself said that he would not sign an illegal budget that's why the House of Representatives must follow whatever was discussed and agreed upon in the bicam committee)," Gatchalian said.
"The county will be at the losing end if the 2019 budget will be further delayed," he added.
Congress has yet to transmit the proposed 2019 budget to President Duterte due to an ongoing impasse between the two houses of Congress.
Congressional leaders failed to reach a consensus on the budget bill despite holding a meeting with Duterte in Malacañang on Tuesday night.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Duterte told lawmakers that he will not sign the budget if Sotto does not sign it.
The government has been operating on a reenacted budget since January 1 after lawmakers failed to pass the bill last year due to allegations of pork "insertions".
The passage of the 2019 budget was further stalled due to allegations of last-minute amendments made by the House after both chambers of Congress ratified the bicameral conference committee report. (PNA)
Photo from Senate PRIB/Philstar