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Nograles concerned with ‘slashed budgets’ in the proposed 2019 NEP

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles is worried about the “slashed budgets” of some key government agencies in the proposed Php 3.757-trillion National Budget for 2019.

Nograles, chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee expressed great concern following the budget presentation by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) since the cash-based budget was P10 billion lower than allotted this year.

“All of us here are concerned with the reductions in various departments and agencies namely the DOH, DepEd, and DPWH,” Nograles told Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno who is a member of the DBCC.

Nograles said the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) was decreased by Php 35 billion; Department of Education (DepEd), by Php 77 billion; and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) by Php 95 billion.

He said there were also reductions reachinf to Php 5 billion in the budgets of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) which is currently preparing for next year’s mid-term elections.

The Davao City explained that these significant budget reductions would hurt the delivery of projects, especially in the rural areas.

“Ang hirap naman ipaliwanag sa mga kababayan natin na nag-reduce tayo ng mga classrooms, nag-reduce tayo ng mga barangay health units, nag-reduce tayo ng roads dahil meron tayong ginagawang ganitong cash-based,” said Nograles.

The proposed 2019 national budget is cash-based as opposed to traditional, multi-year obligations-based budgeting.

The DBM has described it as the more efficient budgeting method since it limits incurring obligations and disbursing payments for goods delivered and services rendered, inspected, and accepted within the fiscal year.

Diokno argued to the panel that the next year’s budget and the present one can’t be compared as “apples to apples” since one is cash-based while one is obligations-based. Thus, the Php 10 billion reduction is “misleading,” he said.

But Nograles maintained that, for its perceived faults, obligation-based budgeting is still the preferred method if cash-based would mean decimating the funds intended for developing the countryside.