MANILA (UPDATE)- President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday signed into law the 2020 national budget, averting a repeat of last year's delay that slowed economic growth.
The P4.1 trillion General Appropriations Act of 2020 is 9 percent higher than the P3.76 trillion budget for 2019. The budget was not signed at the end of 2019 because of the President's "thorough" scrutiny of the bill, Malacañang earlier said.
In his speech, Duterte said this year's spending plan would support the government's goal of making the Philippines an upper bracket-income country, and lowering poverty to 14 percent by the end of his term.
"As in previous years, we will continue to allocate a great portion of our national budget for infrastructure development and social services – programs that will directly touch the lives of our people," he said.
Of the P4.1 trillion budget, 36 percent will be set aside for education, healthcare, housing, and social welfare, Duterte said.
Another 29 percent will be used to fund infrastructure, tourism, trade, job generation, and agriculture projects, while 11 percent will be allotted for debt servicing, he added.
Bickering among lawmakers over alleged insertions in the 2019 budget led to a delay in its passage to April of that year, slowing economic growth in the first half.
Gross domestic product growth regained momentum in the July to August quarter as the government caught up on spending.
The validity of some items in the 2019 budget was extended up to the last day of 2020 to help state agencies catch up on spending.