Duterte poised to signing 2019 budget -- solon

Rodrigo Duterte

A LAWMAKER has bared that President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will soon sign into law the proposed 2019 P3.757-trillion national budget.

Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla said the House leadership has informed lawmakers that President Duterte is expected to sign the national budget in the coming week.

“Ang budget natin? ‘Yan ang matagal na nating hinihintay. Mayroong advice sa amin na anytime soon ay talagang mapipirmahan na ni President,” said Deloso-Montalla.

The P3.757-trillion national budget bill was finally transmitted to the Malacañang on March 26, 2019 after leaders of both the House of Representatives and the Senate signed the ratified bicameral conference committee on the national budget.

“Kami dito sa ibaba, we’ll support kung ano yung decision ng House leaders,” said Deloso-Montalla, chairperson of the House Committee on Human Rights.

Meanwhile, Deloso-Montalla also assured her constituents that funds for the districts are already set in place regardless of when the 2019 national budget will be signed into law.

“Most of the funds naman allocated to our district are already set up so hindi naman maapektuhan ito. Mga minor na lang ang maaapektuhan so okey lang sa amin,” said Montalla.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro described as fake news Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte’s allegations that the House leadership has taken away P92.3 billion from the 2019 national budget and distributed them to favored members of the House of Representatives.

“I can say with authority that Rep. Villafuerte is peddling fake news. I pity my good friend L-Ray, but I understand where he is coming from. He is one of the former House leaders who stood to gain billions in projects had we not corrected the inequities in the National Expenditure Program,” said Castro.

But Vilafuerte said “the funds that were originally allocated to my district represented funds for programs under the National Expenditure Program (NEP), which is the annual budget plan approved and submitted by President Duterte to the Congress.”

“Such projects supposed to be funded by the GAA are backed by feasibility studies and have gone through the rigorous review or vetting process by Malacañang. Rep. Castro has implied that my district had unduly obtained funds for my district under the previous House leadership. This is baloney from a political chameleon like him,” said Villafuerte.

“First, as I said, my district deserves such funds as these were legit projects under the NEP that President Duterte submitted to the Congress after his 3rd SONA. There was nothing hanky panky about this. Second, there is nothing phony or fake about my allegations on the unconstitutional abomination committed by the House leadership because these were based on official data analyzed by the Senate Legislative Budget Management and Research Office (LBRMO),” Villafuerte added.

The new House leadership under Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo discovered the reported budget anomalies allegedly manipulated by the allies of former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.

Based on records, Alvarez’s team inserted P52 billion for infrastructure projects, Castro said.

Castro added that Villafuerte was allocated P2.7 billion by the previous House leadership.