Duterte may sign 2020 budget in first week of January: spokesman

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 26 2019 03:17 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Dec. 17, 2019. Rey Baniquet, Presidential Photo

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte will likely sign the P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 in the first week of January, his spokesman said Thursday.

Duterte is still studying the budget proposal, said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo. It will mark the second straight time that the national budget was not signed before the start of the year it was earmarked for.

"He will go through that. Di ba ganun si Presidente? Mabusisi (Thorough)," Panelo told reporters.

"This President is a lawyer so he knows what is unconstitutional or not so he decides for himself," Panelo said.

Debates over alleged insertions in the 2019 national budget pushed back its signing to April, forcing the government to run on a reenactment of the previous year's spending plan until the current one was enacted.

The delay slowed gross domestic product growth in the first half but catch-up government spending in the second half revived growth momentum.

Duterte allowed appropriations under the 2019 budget available for release until Dec. 31, 2020.