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P3.757-T proposed budget for 2019 lower than for ‘18

15 July 2018

The Department of Budget and Management will ask Congress to appropriate P3.757-trillion cash-based budget for the national government in 2019.

The amount is P10 billion lower than the P3.767 trillion budget for 2018. It is equivalent to 19.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the budget proposal will be submitted to the House on July 23 to coincide with President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address.

The Cabinet approved the budget proposal in a meeting last Monday that lasted until 3 a.m. the next day, Diokno said.

The 2019 budget will finance the wider fiscal-deficit program for 2019 of P624.4 billion, equivalent to 3.2 percent of GDP, with the expenditure program at P3.833 trillion, exceeding the P3.208-trillion revenue target.

The Duterte administration seeks to accelerate the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program by increasing spending on education, healthcare and social services.

The budget shifts to an annual cash-based budgeting system from the multi-year obligations-based system at present. Diokno said this would further slash underspending, which has been on a decline in the past two years.

Under cash-based appropriations, agencies will be forced to spend their respective budgets within the fiscal year, or else would lose them.

In the past, the obligations-based budget allowed disbursements within a two-year period.

This means “agencies will no longer submit projects to the DBM that are not yet implementation-ready,” Diokno explained.

“Government spending will continue to be a growth driver for the Philippine economy, especially as we invest on public infrastructure and human capital development. We are optimistic that we will virtually eradicate underspending in fiscal year 2019, as we transition to cash-based budgeting,” Diokno said last week after a meeting of the multi-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).

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