Diokno open to 2019 reenacted GAA amid House insistence to scrap cash-based budget
The Department of Budget and Management is eyeing a reenacted budget for 2019 if Congress failed to pass the proposed expenditure program for next year.
In a press conference during the Jobs, Jobs, Jobs caravan in Pasay City, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said that the budget for the massive infrastructure projects of the government would not be affected amid the House committee on appropriations' decision to suspend the deliberation on the proposed P3.757 trillion budget for next year.
"We are looking at all options, including the re-enacted budget of 2018," he said.
He noted that there were several projects included in the 2017 and 2018 budget which have not yet been done.
"We still have a huge budget. The build, build, build won't suffer," Diokno stressed, referring to the ambitious P8-trillion infrastructure projects until 2022.
House Appropriations Chair Rep. Karlo Nograles said that the DBM and the interagency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) have to address first the concerns of the congressmen regarding the "extremely restrictive" cash-based national budget for next year.
According to Nograles, legislators have crossed party lines because they agree "that cash-based budgeting is not feasible, impracticable, and inimical to the interests of our constituents.”
The lawmakers have been pushing for the return to obligation-based budgeting.
Nograles said that owing to the limitations of a cash-based system, the 2019 National Expenditure Program is P10 billion lower in absolute terms compared to the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) which totalled 3.767 trillion pesos.
As a result, he said that nearly all government agencies have suffered significant budget reductions, "which would result to less of everything: fewer classrooms, barangay health centers, roads, bridges, and energized sitios."
"Since the House position is to revert to obligation-based budgeting, we will give time to the DBCC to make the necessary changes," Nograles said. Celerina Monte/DMS