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Executive eyes reenacted budget as an option for 2019 – Diokno

By: - Reporter / @bendeveraINQ
/ 06:06 PM August 12, 2018
Benjamin Diokno

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno (File photo from the Presidential Photographers Division)

As the House of Representatives turned down the proposed cash-based P3.757-trillon national budget for 2019, the executive branch is looking to have a reenacted budget passed to sustain infrastructure spending, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said Sunday.

“We are studying all the options, including reenacted budget of 2018,” Diokno, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English said during a press conference on the sidelines of the “Build, Build, Build” job fair staged on Sunday at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. “Because so many projects in 2017 and 2018 have not been done, when you add those to project in 2019, the budget is so big. The ‘Build, Build, Build’ program won’t suffer.”

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Under its ambitious “Build, Build, Build” program, the Duterte administration plans to rollout 75 “game-changing” flagship projects alongside spending a total of up to P9 trillion on hard and modern infrastructure until 2022 to usher in the “golden age of infrastructure.”

But some members of the House have been questioning why the 2019 budget proposal, at nominal value, is lower than the record P3.767-trillion 2018 appropriation.

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Diokno has explained that this year’s obligation-based budget should not be compared apples to apples to the cash budget proposal for next year.

According to Diokno, the cash-based equivalent of the 2018 budget was P3.324 trillion.

In the past, the obligation-based budget allowed agencies to spend their respective allocations within a two-year period, sometimes leading to underspending.

“A cash-based budget instills greater fiscal discipline and prudent use of limited resources. The shift to a cash-based budget will increase the efficiency of government operations, resulting in a faster and improved delivery of public services,” Diokno said.

“The one-year time horizon of budget execution will push heads of government agencies to plan ahead, conduct early procurement, and regularly monitor implementation,” he said.

He had noted that “73 percent of the countries around the world, as well as the private sector, are implementing a cash-based budget.”

“This is the way to go if you want transparency and efficiency,” he said. “Annual cash-based appropriations will also encourage a more open and accountable government. In this new system, agency performance will be measured not on contracts awarded or obligated but on the actual delivery of goods and services that will improve the lives of Filipinos.” /atm

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TAGS: 2019 national budget, Benjamin Diokno, DBM
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