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Duterte to sign budget bill as Philippine lawmakers break impasse

Senate leader counts on president to veto 'unconstitutional' spending items

A woman prepares for customers at a market in Manila. An impasse in Congress over the budget has prompted the Philippine government to cut its economic growth forecast to 6% to 7% for this year and 6.5% to 7.5% for 2020, after previously targeting 7% to 8% growth over the two-year period.   © Reuters

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to soon sign the Philippines' 2019 budget after congressional leaders on Tuesday signed off on the spending plan, ending a three-month-long impasse that has delayed infrastructure projects and forced the government to slash economic growth targets.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said he signed, "with reservations," the 3.76-trillion-peso ($71.6 billion) budget bill and forwarded it to Duterte for approval. Sotto said he included a note to Duterte questioning more than 75 billion pesos in local infrastructure projects that his counterparts in the House of Representatives realigned to prioritize favored districts, even after Congress approved a final version of the bill in February.

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