Lawmakers worry over P3.757-T 2019 cash-based budget

MANILASeveral lawmakers have expressed concern over the proposed PHP3.757-trillion cash-based budget for 2019, which contained "budget cuts" and is slightly lower than this year's PHP3.767-trillion, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya said on Wednesday.

Emerging from an all-member caucus, Andaya said some lawmakers even suggested to return the budget to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

There have been suggestions that we overhaul it, we return it, we tweak it, (or) we change the forecast, Andaya said in an ambush interview.

Andaya noted that the fiscal context for the 2019 budget may have made wrong projections on inflation, and so the budget must be adjusted to account for the rising inflation.

Unang-una yung inflation target sablay na yun sigurado. So yun faced with that situation kung i-a-adjust mo yung budget mo to inflation so dapat malaki talaga ang i-submit nila (First of all, the inflation target may already be inaccurate. So faced with that situation, they (economic team) should submit a higher budget adjusted to inflation), Andaya said.

Andaya said the lawmakers agreed to first make representation to the DBM regarding their concerns.

Unang-una nag-rally muna yung lahat ng miyembro all the minority, majority, non-majority blocs, Makabayan bloc (All members from the minority, majority, non-majority blocs have rallied)all are in agreement that we make representation muna sa (first to) DBM before we proceed, Andaya said.

This is the first time that it will happen. Walang precedent pa dito (There's no precedent to this). Everything is uncertain siguro (maybe) a little more study before we apply it, Andaya added.

During the briefing of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) at the House of Representatives last week, DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno told lawmakers that the 2018 and 2019 national budgets are not strictly comparable, since the former is obligation-based.

"The 2019 cash-based budget cannot be directly compared to the 2018 Budget, or any previous obligation-based budget for that matter. An appropriate apples-to-apples comparison would be to estimate the cash-based equivalent of the 2018 budget versus the 2019 appropriations," Diokno said.

Diokno noted that the cash-based equivalent of the 2018 budget is PHP3.324 trillion. Hence, the 2019 budget is actually PHP433 billion, or 13 percent higher than this year's allocation.

In an annual cash-based budget, contracts intended to be implemented for the fiscal year should be fully delivered by the end of the year.

On the other hand, the multi-year obligation-based budgeting system allows the government to enter into a contract or "obligate funds" without requiring the actual delivery of goods and services within the year.

Diokno said having an annual cash-based appropriations leads to greater fiscal discipline and prudent use of budget, faster and improved delivery of essential public services, and a more open and accountable government. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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