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Sec. Benjamin Diokno

Diokno bares P3.4T budget goal for 2019

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has set a proposed budget of P3.4 trillion for 2019, which is 1.5 percent higher than the P3.35 trillion budget for this year, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

Diokno said the DBM had sent out a Budget Call for 2019 under National Budget Memorandum 129 that would result in representatives from government agencies to gather for a Budget Forum on January 17 to tackle issues and concerns related to the preparation of budget proposals for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.

Diokno said agencies are expected to submit their budget proposals to the DBM by the middle of April.

The total budget levels for next year were reached during the Development Budget Coordination Committee meeting last December 22, Diokno added.

He said for 2019, the government has a revenue target of P3.134 trillion, projected to be 16.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and a spending target of P3.708 trillion, or about 19.2 percent of GDP.

The 2019 shortfall will be sustained at three percent of GDP or at a nominal value of P574.5 billion, Diokno said.

The DBM will be using the so-called annual cash-based budget method for 2019 in which agencies can only incur contractual obligations and disburse payments for goods delivered and services rendered and inspected within the fiscal year, with an extended payment period of three months.

“This will effectively limit agencies to submit budget proposals reflecting payment of goods and services that will actually be delivered for the year,” Diokno said.

The shift in the budget system is expected to speed up program delivery, as well as strengthen the focus and accountability of government as target outputs of government programs become more clearly linked to their appropriated budget.

The 2019 President’s Budget will be submitted to Congress on July 23, 2018, the day of the State of the Nation Address.

President Duterte vetoed a number of provisions in the current General Appropriations Act.

Four provisions were directly vetoed, 28 provisions were placed under conditional implementation, and four provisions were met with general observations, out of the 176 provisions and new revisions introduced by Congress.

Mr. Duterte’s veto actions prohibit the unauthorized use of income by government agencies, besides the utilization of earmarked revenues as governed by special laws.

Four special provisions have been subjected to Direct Veto, rendering such provisions “inoperative” which are:

OEO-MTRCB Special Provision No. 2 “Monitoring Expenses of Board Members”;

General Provision No. 87 “Collection of Fees in Relation to the Retention or Reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship”;

DepEd- OSEC Special Provision No. 14 “Use of School MOOE for Payment of Items that may be classified as CO; and

OEO-ERC Special Provision No. 2 “Use of Income”.

The first three provisions were deemed unconstitutional, thus meriting a direct veto. The OEO-ERC Special Provision No. 2 “Use of Income” results to a double programming of income sources, and as such, it was recommended that the ERC should instead ensure the efficient use of its GAA and automatic appropriations.

Meanwhile, twenty-seven special and general provisions have been placed under Conditional Implementation.

Conditional implementation requires issuance of guidelines in the implementation of the provision in question.

Two provisions, the creation of the revolving fund for DOST Research and Development Institutes and the use of collections by the Dangerous Drugs Board, were placed under Conditional Implementation for possible “double programming”, or use of income that has already been identified as funding sources for the budget. Use of income may be allowable for these agencies in the event of excess revenue.

Other items under Conditional Implementation are those identified by DBM as requiring compliance with conditions or submission of requirements prior to release of allotment.

All adjustments in the appropriations and new budgetary items introduced by Congress are subject to special budget release. As a consequence, agencies are directed to adjust the outputs and outcomes that correspond to such items.

Diokno said the efficient use of the budget remains as a top priority of the President as he has once again adopted one year validity of appropriations.

This requires that any unused funds at the end of one fiscal year by government agencies should revert back to the general fund, driving the agencies to spend their budget with a greater sense of urgency.

As one of the final points in the message, the President reiterated his trust in the Congress to implement in faithful observance the constitutional mandate of salary standardization and prohibition on grant of additional or double compensation to government personnel.

He also directed the Executive Branch and the Constitutional Fiscal Autonomy Group (CFAG), such as the Judiciary, the Commission on Audit, the COMELEC, and the like, to exercise shared fiscal responsibility over the budget. LUIS LEONCIO

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