Re-enacted 2019 budget looms as Congress, DBM reach stalemate on cash-based budget
By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Administration and opposition solons have warned that the national government might end up having a “re-enacted budget” for next year due to the proposed cash-based budgeting in the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, chair of House Committee on Appropriations said majority of his colleagues in both sides of the political fence have reached a consensus that they will not support the proposed 2019 National Budget submitted by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
“We are not going to support the cash-based budgeting,” said Nograles.
During Thursday’s budget deliberations for Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Nograles revealed that “the (super) majority will join with the minority and the independents (blocs) in consolidating” their forces to restore at the very least, the existing budget for the agency.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said “the majority and the minority must be united in supporting a realistic budget of the DPWH in order to make a truism of the oft-repeated invocation that infrastructure is the engine of growth and help pursue the government’s “Build, Build Build” agenda.”
Lagman said the DPWH budget was one of the “major casualties” of the cash-based budget, explaining that it received a total reduction of Php 93.34 billion.
The agency’s Php 544.521-billion budget for next 2019 is 14.63 percent lower compare to this year’s Php 637.864 billion.
“We must restore the cuts in the DPWH submittal made by DBM. We must not only restore the excised allocations but must augment the DPWH’s budget once found to be justified and imperative,” said Lagman.
The Albay solon explained that there was no justification for the inordinate reduction of the DPWH budget just because the of “cash-based budgeting” scheme since its absorptive capacity has improved during the first six months of the present year.
“After the DBM assured the Committee on Appropriations that the absorptive capacity of agencies has vastly improved, including DPWH, in the first six months of 2018 and DBM has approved the employment of more DPWH personnel,” said Lagman.
Meanwhie, Nograles urged his colleagues that current stalemate between the Lower House and DBM shouldn’t derail the priority projects of the Duterte administration.