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Editorial Thursday, July 1t], 2019


&- Sufl,m
JULY 18,20,19

Avoid the delay that

plagued this year's budget
HE dispute over "pork barrel" was the '
',,,1 Niir,l'rr,rr gress and signed by the President, according to the
i r;lit ' reason the 2019 national budget bill was Supreme Court,lawmakers cannot intervene or par-
li approved only in March, z0tg, -hen it ticipate in the implementation of any project listed
should have been approved in Decem- in the budget. This is to avoid the old practice of
ber, 2018. Because of the three-month delay, the lawmakers getting huge commissions - 20 percent
government had to use a reenacted 2018 national or even more - from public works contractors chosen
budget, just so normal government operations to carry out the projects.
could continue and government workers could In the delayed 2019 national budget, some F75
get paid. billion had been appropriated for projects in spe-
But newprojects could notbe implemented. These cific districts, placed in the biU by the congressmen
included many infrastructures under "Build, Build,. of those districts. Senators sought to remove these
Build" - roads and bridges, airports and seaports, items, claiming they were "pork barrel." Finally,
schml buildings and other government structures. after three months of disagreement, the disputed'
As government spending accounts for a big part budget was approved and sent to President Duterte
of the Gross Domestic Product (cDP), the national for his signature. He simply vetoed the F76-biUion
GDP sankin those first three months of 2019.Wecan projects. PAtt+-
only hope that the Department ofPubtic Works and There is indeed need to avoid the huge alloca
Highways (DPWH) can make up in the rest of the
tions that some congressmen in the past ma$agPd
year for those th ree months of inaction. to include in t he nalional b udget but. su rel). theie are