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6 THURSDAy JUL' 18,201e

Avoid the delay that

plagued this year's budget
THE dispute
the reason
over "pork barrel,, was dent, according to the Supreme Court,
. -1. the 2019 national budget rawmakers cannot intervene or partici_
bill was approved only in March,20i9, pate in the impletuentation of any proj_
when it should have been approved in ect listed in the budget. This is to avoid
December, 2018. Because of the three_
the old practice of lawmakers getting
month delay, the government had to huge commissions - 20 percent or even
use a reenacted 2019 national budget,
just so normal government operations more - from public works contractors
chosen to carry out the proiects.
could continue and government work_ In the delayed 2019 n;tional budget,
could get paid.
..ers some p75 billion had been appropiiaied
But new projects could not be imple_ ror.projects in specific districts, placed
mented. These included many infra_ in the bill by the congressmen of those
structures under "Build, Build; Build,, distrlcts. \Sqnators sought to remove
- roads and bridges, airports and sea_ these jtems,..claiming they were ,,pork
ports, school buildings and other gov_ barrel." Finally, after three months of
ernment structures. As government disagreement, the disputed budqet was
spercrng accounts for a big part of approved and sent to president buterte
rne. Gross_Domesti€ product (GDp), the
for his signature. He simply vetoed the
national GDp sank in those tirst three F76-billion projects.
months of 2019. We can only hope that There is indeed need to avoid the
rne. Department of public Works and .huge. allocations
Highw-ays (DPWH) can make up tn the that some congress_
men in the past managed to include in
resr of the year for those three months
of inaction.
the national budget but, surely, there
are worthy projects that some con_
. Incoming Speaker Alan peter Cayetano
hopes to avoid
gressmen seek for their districts.
the 2019 House_senate coutd be just a matter of definition, of,
conflict that cai.jsed the budget delay. clarification, between thd senators and
The House and Senate, he said', must be
abie to clearly define what is.'Dork bar_
Incoming Speaker. Cayetano has
rel" which the Supreme Court banned in rarsed the problem early in the hope,
2014 and agree on a national budqet on
which..we all share, that this old ,,pbrk
time, that is, before the start of 20-20. barrel" issue will not delay the national
Once thc national budget is approved
by Congress and signed by the presi_
budget - with all its unwanted conse_
quences - as it did last year.