Gov't disbursement to be cut by P44B with re-enacted budget in Q1, Diokno says
The Philippine government's fund disbursement could be cut by P44 billion with a re-enacted budget at least in the first quarter of 2019, the Department of Budget and Management said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the Palace expects the earliest passage of the proposed P3.757 trillion budget would be by the middle of February.
"We estimate that in total, a re-enacted budget for the first quarter of 2019 will reduce total disbursements by an estimated 44 billion (pesos) for one quarter ? if it is delayed by one quarter," he said.
The passage of the proposed budget for 2019 has been delayed due to the long deliberation in the House of Representatives which took four months due to changes in the National Expenditure Program prepared by Malacanang.
Some lawmakers reportedly sought for a higher budget for their districts.
Diokno said under a re-enacted budget, no new infrastructure projects could start because the capital outlays component of the previous year's budget could not be deemed reenacted.
"Only the personal services and the maintenance and other operating expenditures are deemed reenacted; capital outlays, let me repeat, are not deemed reenacted. The reasoning is straightforward: you cannot fund and finish the same project twice, right? Hence, new projects will have to wait until the 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed into law," he explained.
But the large projects, which are covered by the "Multi-Year Obligational Authority," would not be adversely affected, he said.
The internal revenue allotment for local government units and debt service would not also be affected because they are automatically appropriated, Diokno added.
Personal services like salaries, wages, pension and retirement, and the maintenance and other operating expenses would also be deemed reenacted.
This means salary adjustments for civilian and military personnel would be deferred until such time the 2019 General Appropriations Act is passed into law, Diokno said.
Asked when the proposed budget could be passed, he said, "Maybe mid-Feb...let's say they approved it last day of January, they will have to go to the printing press, that's about a week."
He said when the enrolled bill reached the Palace, they have to check it line by line.
"So, we will have some criteria on whether to veto or not to veto," he said, noting after Duterte signs the bill into law, it will take effect 15 days after or by March.
Diokno earlier said if the government would operate under a re-enacted budget for full year in 2019, this could mean reduction of disbursement by P220 billion, a growth impact of -1.1 to -2.3 percent in the target gross domestic product expansion of 7.0-8.0 percent, and reduction of as much as 600,000 jobs. Celerina Monte/DMS