Sotto: Senate backs cash-based 2019 budget
Update (9:40 p.m.)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday said that the Senate has agreed to support the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) proposed cash-based appropriation for 2019.
“The entire Senate, in caucus, have agreed to support the President’s budget,” Sotto told reporters.
“Yes, we are supporting the DBM’s budget proposal,” he added.
The Senate suspended its budget hearings as it awaits the decision of the House of Representatives on passing a “cash-based” appropriations act for next year.
Sotto said the budget hearings will resume soon but he clarified that it will be “based on the NEP (National Expenditure Program) and not the GAB (General Appropriations Bill) yet,” noting that the “GAB has to emanate” from the Congress.
However, Sotto said that if a reenacted budget is pushed, “it will only be for PS (Personal services) and MOOE (Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses).”
“Capital outlay must not be reenacted. That is the Senate position,” he noted.
Several lawmakers earlier expressed support for a cash-based budget system, which they claim will urge government agencies to spend their allocated funds within the year.
They also rejected the possible reenactment of the 2018 budget, which might happen if Congress fails to pass a new law.
The DBM raised the possibility of having a reenacted budget next year to break the impasse with lawmakers on a new spending plan that will allocate funds only for projects that can be completed within next year.
Senator Loren Legarda, Senate finance committee chair, also confirmed that their fellow senators expressed support to the President’s cash-based budget.
“With a cash-based budget system, projects will be done sooner; thus, people would also feel the benefits of government services sooner,” Legarda said in a statement.
The senator also stressed that her committee will exercise strong oversight during the budget briefings.
“We will scrutinize not only the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 but also the performance of agencies, especially those that have high underspending rate. Our aim is to further help government efficiently spend public funds and deliver basic services to the Filipino people,” she added. /je
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