House delibs to resume when ‘cash-based’ 2019 budget concerns addressed

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Workers touch up the House of Representatives logo in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, on Wednesday, July 21. Preparations are under way in anticipation of President Benigno Aquino III's last State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27.


© Analy Labor
Workers touch up the House of Representatives logo in Batasan Hills, Quezon City, on Wednesday, July 21. Preparations are under way in anticipation of President Benigno Aquino III’s last State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27.

The budget deliberations at the House of Representatives will resume once the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) addresses concerns about the “cash-based” national budget proposal for 2019, appropriations committee chair Karlo Nograles saidSunday.

Nograles made the remark after the House panel suspended indefinitely the deliberations for the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 in order to be consistent with chamber’s decision to oppose the “cash-based” nature of next year’s general appropriations.

“This is a temporary setback, but rest assured we will get the budget passed on time—a realistic, pro-people, pro-probinsyano budget that will support the priority projects and programs of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Nograles said in a statement.

“Departments and agencies have been informed that the House is suspending budget briefings until further notice. At this point it would be better moving forward if the Department of Budget and Management and DBCC first resolve the issues we have raised,” he added.

Nograles said lawmakers across party lines are on in saying that the cash-based budgeting is “not feasible, impracticable and inimical to the interests of our constituents.”

Cash-based budgeting means that agencies have only one year with a three-month extension after the fiscal year to settle payments for the goods and services delivered.

“Sa madaling salita, nagkakasundo kami sa Kongreso na lugi ang tao sa budget na ito, lugi ang Pilipino sa sistemang ito,” Nograles said.

Nograles said that because of the cash-based budgeting, the 2019 proposed national budget is P10 billion lower in absolute terms than the P3.767-trillion 2018 general appropriations.

This, he said, resulted in “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,” he added.

Nograles has earlier promised not to have a reenacted budget for 2019.

“Our responsibility and duty to our constituents is clear: siguraduhin na ang pera ng bayan ay magamit sa ikauunlad ng ating kababayan,” he said.

“We will not allow our countrymen to be shortchanged and we will do what must be done to ensure that they get the budget they deserve,” he added.

In fact, Nograles is optimistic that the national budget for 2019 will still be passed on time despite the suspension of the House budget deliberations. — BM, GMA News

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