The Palace assured that the proposed 2022 national budget will be signed before December 31, saying it is currently under study and the review process of the budget is not yet finished.
Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles made the statement on Tuesday regarding the sudden postponement of the signing of the P5.024-trillion national budget for next year.
The ceremonial signing of the budget measure–which had already been ratified by the House of Representatives and the Senate–was supposed to take place in Malacañang yesterday.
“We have not finished the review process and assessing the budget…The budget book is thick. They’re a lot of books we need to go through one by one,” he said in a Palace press briefing.
But the Palace official assured that the President will sign the 2022 national budget within the week to ensure that the government does not operate on a reenacted budget.
“We would want to assure and we assure the public that the budget will be signed before Dec. 31,” he said. The 2022 national budget is the biggest budget ever legislated in the country and is the second under the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The government typically aims to enact the budget bill before the start of its prescribed year to avoid complications. President Duterte said last week that he expects the 2022 budget to give a boost to the relief and rehabilitation efforts in connection with typhoon “Odette.”
It was only last Dec. 16 when Odette ravaged various provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao. Duterte declared a state of calamity in six regions affected by the typhoon to hasten relief and rehabilitation and vowed to allocate P10 billion.
Nograles further explained that the signing of next year’s budget was postponed since the Office of the President is still currently in the process of vetting and reviewing it.
“Hindi pa po natatapos yung review process at pagsusuri ng budget…Napakakapal ng budget book. Ilang libro po ‘yan na kailangang isa-isahin (We have not finished the review process and assessing the budget…The budget book is thick. They’re a lot of books we need to go through one by one),” he said in a Palace press briefing.
He, however, assured that Duterte will sign next year’s budget within the week to ensure that the government does not operate on a reenacted budget.
“Ilang araw na lamang po at matatapos na rin yung (It would only take a few more days for the review process to be completed) review process and the President will immediately sign the budget,” he said.
“We would want to assure and reassure the public that the budget will be signed. Pipirmahan po ni Pangulong Duterte ang budget for 2022 bago pa man sumapit ang (President Duterte will sign the budget for 2022 before) Dec. 31,” he added.
The House of Representatives and the Senate separately ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on Dec. 15.
On Monday, Acting Budget secretary Tina Rose Canda said Duterte is expected to sign the proposed budget by Tuesday afternoon, with some provisions up for veto.
“For the items to be vetoed, I remember only one. But I don’t think I am in a position to discuss it at this point because it is still being reviewed,” she said.
Senator Christopher “Bong” Go earlier said Duterte will expedite the review of next year’s budget to ensure that the government would have a budget for the rehabilitation of areas hit by Typhoon Odette and Covid-19 response.
Last week, Duterte declared a state of calamity in six regions affected by the typhoon to hasten relief and rehabilitation and vowed to allocate PHP10 billion for typhoon disaster efforts.