MANILA – Lawmakers should not be "wasting time" and instead approve important legislation, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday, with the approval of the 2019 budget still pending.
Further delays in the approval of the General Appropriations Act could set back "essential" projects, said Diokno.
Lawmakers failed to pass the 2019 budget before the close of 2018 due to questions over alleged "insertions," which House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya blamed on Diokno. The budget chief has denied wrongdoing.
"Why are we wasting time? We don’t have enough time," Diokno told reporters, when asked for his assessment on the delay in the budget passage.
"The session days of this Congress is very limited, so why don’t they just use their time approving for example, a very important bill like the freedom of information bill which has been languishing for so long, right?,” he said.
Diokno said the fourth tranche of salary increase for government employees cannot be implement until the 2019 budget is approved.
Andaya on Tuesday threatened to petition the Supreme Court to compel Diokno to release the funds for the increase.
-- with a report by Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News