Nograles backs extension of 2019 budget validity
MANILA, Philippines — Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Wednesday said he is in favor of the proposal to extend the validity of the 2019 budget for capital outlays and operating expenses to prevent further delays in government projects.
Nograles, who once chaired the House Committee on Appropriations when he was still a lawmaker, pointed out that some government agencies suffered delays in spending due to the budget impasse that marred the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
The approval of the 2019 national budget was delayed for months after some lawmakers questioned some allocations and alleged pork barrel insertions.
“I would subscribe to that view kasi realistically we won’t be able to spend all of the money that has been allotted for 2019,” Nograles told reporters in a forum in Malate, Manila.
“Given the fact na late na-approve ang budget, so necessarily late ang pag-download ng mga funds ng agencies, (and) late na din ‘yung paggastos nila especially with capital outlay and infrastructure,” he added.
Deputy Speaker and Antique Rep. Loren Legarda earlier sought a one-year extension of the 2019 budget to avoid further delays in government projects and operations.
Legarda, former chair of the Senate finance committee, filed Joint Resolution No. 9, extending the availability of the current P3.7-trillion budget until December 31, 2020.
While expressing confidence that there will be no budget impasse for the 2020 GAB under the leadership of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Nograles stressed that the government “cannot afford” to experience budget delays this year as it has been playing “catch up” in the past two quarters of 2019.
“We cannot afford to have another budget impasse this year especially na nakikita naman natin tinamaan talaga ‘yung economic indicators natin for the past two quarters of this year. Right now we’re trying to play catch up in terms of spending,” he said.
The Department of Budget and Management on Tuesday submitted its proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget to the House of Representatives, almost a month after the opening of the 18th Congress. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.