Gov't can seek exemptions from election ban on spending for projects - lawmaker

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2019 10:26 PM

MANILA - Government may apply for exemptions from the election ban on spending for government projects covered by the 2019 Budget which has been delayed in Congress, a House lawmaker said Thursday.

"Election ban will be imposed last week of March. Meron naman ho tayo proseso. I’ve heard some of those projects will be requesting for exemption from the Comelec (Commission on Elections). It’s up to the executive to do that," said COOP NATCCO Party List Rep. Anthony Bravo.

Bravo said the final printed copy of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill might be ready for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before the end of the month and be effective by March. 

"Habang tumatagal ang reenacted, hindi maganda sa ekonomiya ng bansa," he said.

The itemized list of lawmakers’ projects will also be available for the public to scrutinize, he said.

“We assured our people after printing of the GAA (General Appropriations Act) prior to the signing of the President it will be bared to the public," he said.

Bravo said he is not yet sure which of the amendments proposed by lawmakers made it to the final cut of the budget, recalling that Senator Panfilo Lacson proposed P50 billion for the government to take over bankrupt Hanjin Shipyard as an institutional amendment.

Bravo said similar proposals were for amendments for a feeding program under the Department of Education as well as medical assistance.

The Department of Agriculture, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of National Defense, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources had some institutional amendments, too, he said.

Lawmakers settled their differences regarding the 2019 budget earlier this month. Election rules ban public works spending from March 29 and May 12, leading to the midterm polls.