Nograles: Zero budget for health facilities violates sin tax law
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) would violate the Sin Tax Law if the plan to allow a zero budget for the enhancement of health facilities in the country pushes through, House appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles warned on Monday.
In a press briefing, Davao City 1st District Rep. Nograles said the DBM has scrapped the Department of Health’s (DOH) proposed P25.375 billion budget for health facilities enhancement program (HFEP).
“The DOH submitted to the DBM P25.375 billion [budget] for HFEP… none of which was approved by the DBM, zero po,” the lawmaker said.
“Therefore, that is a violation of Republic Act 10351, which specifically states that 20 percent goes to health facilities enhancement,” he added.
Section 8 of RA 10351 states that 20 percent of incremental revenues from the excise tax on alcohol and tobacco products “shall be allocated nationwide, based on political and district subdivisions, for medical assistance and health enhancement facilities program, the annual requirements of which shall be determined by the Department of Health (DOH).”
Nograles has called on the budget department to correct this, reiterating the House of Representatives’ stance that they would not proceed with the budget briefings unless the DBM reverts its budgeting system to obligation-based from the agency’s proposed cash-based system.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman, a former chair of the House appropriations panel who was also a Budget undersecretary, has explained that in cash-based budgeting, only projects and programs which are implementable for completion and payment within the fiscal year and during the three-month extension period after the yearend are included for funding in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Meanwhile, under the obligation-based budgeting, the implementation, completion, and payment of the projects and programs in the GAA could be made beyond the yearend provided they are obligated within the fiscal year by contract or other modes of incurring an obligation, Lagman added. /ee
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