Duterte safeguarded 2020 budget with 'conditional' items, says official

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2020 02:49 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte glances over copies of the 2020 national budget, which he signed on Jan. 6, 2020. Duterte set some items to "conditional implementation" to safeguard the budget from "questionable" spending, a budget department official said on Jan. 8, 2020. King Rodriguez, Presidential Photo

MANILA -- The "conditional implementation" of several items in the P4.1 trillion national budget for 2020 aims to prevent the release of funds on projects that may be "questionable," a budget department official said Wednesday.

A review of expenditures did not find items that are "strongly objectionable" or those that could not be addressed through conditional funding, said Ryan Lita, director for legal service of the DBM.

The "conditional implementation," according to Lita, "addresses some issues that need to be clarified so, in effect, it prevents the release of funds to be questionable."

Duterte signed the 2020 budget into law last Monday, preventing a repeat of the delay in the previous year. The 2019 budget was enacted in April that year, slowing spending and economic growth.

Under the 2020 budget, items with conditions involve: procurement laws, foreign travels of government officials and employees, the Last Mile Schools program, resettlement programs, government subsidies, feeding programs, funding for foreign-assisted projects, quick response funds, special funds, and funds for Marawi war and earthquake victims.

Duterte in his budget message said he had to impose conditions on the said items to “faithfully comply with existing laws, policies, and rules and regulations, for the effective and efficient utilization of public funds.”

A full copy of the 2020 General Appropriations Act was not immediately available.