Angara on 2020 budget: Gov’t to complete as many projects as possible under Duterte’s term

Published January 6, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Senator Juan Edgardo Angara on Monday welcomed the signing into law of the P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, even though “it took a little longer than expected.”

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara (Sonny Angara Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara
(Sonny Angara Facebook page / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2020 at Malacañang on Monday, despite allegations it is still riddled with “pork,” as Sen. Panfilo Lacson said earlier.

Angara, Senate finance committee chief, said he respects the President’s prerogative to scrutinize the budget as part of the regular process. “We were off by a few days but this should have no impact on the operation of the government.”

Senators earlier vowed to pass the budget bill on time to prevent a re-enacted one, as happened with the 2019 national budget. Its signing into law was delayed for four months, a scenario all members of Congress agreed should be avoided in the future.

“Our experience with the 2019 General Appropriations Act was regrettable. The delays faced in the approval of the measure proved to be very costly on the people, who were expecting the timely delivery of key services, and on the economy, which grew at a slower pace,” he said.

“With this in mind, all members of Congress worked together to prevent a similar situation from happening with the 2020 budget. As it has been in previous years, there were differences on some issues, but we were able to resolve these with haste, all for the greater good of the country,” Angara pointed out.

Under the 2020 GAA, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) received a net increase of P51.139-billion.

“The idea is to complete as many projects as possible by the time President Duterte ends his term in 2022,” Angara said. “For the more complex projects, the plan is to get the ball rolling already so that the next administration will just continue these and complete them during their term.”

The 2020 budget also prioritized funding for education and social services, with the conditional cash transfer or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to continue as part of the government’s efforts to reduce poverty in the country. Also covered are benefits due to senior citizens, including the social pension of P6,000 annually.

The 2020 GAA also makes sure that health care professionals will be deployed in communities around the country that are in need of their services, with the Department of Health (DOH) being able to continue hiring doctors, nurses, midwives, dentists, and other health professionals under its Deployment of Human Resources for Health program.

“A significant number of our kababayans are situated in far-flung areas and cannot afford to travel when they need medical attention, and that is why this program should be sustained and supported,” Angara said.