President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte has certified as urgent the proposed PHP4.1 trillion national budget for 2020.

In a letter to Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano dated Sept. 17, Duterte urged both leaders to consider the “immediate enactment” of House Bill No. 4228 or the General Appropriation Bill (GAB) for Fiscal Year 2020.

“In order to address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of the current fiscal year (FY), to expedite the funding of various programs, projects, and the activities for FY 2020, and to ensure budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its Constitutional mandate,” the letter read.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives began plenary deliberations on the proposed 2020 budget.

House Appropriations Committee chairman Isidro Ungab, who sponsored the proposed budget, called on his colleagues to support its timely passage.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, earlier said the House expects to pass the budget bill on second reading on Friday, Sept. 20.

The proposed PHP4.1 trillion 2020 budget is 11.8 percent higher than the PHP3.662 trillion budget for 2019, constituting 19.4 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

It is the fourth annual budget submitted by the government under Duterte and marks the beginning of the second half of his administration. (PNA)