By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
The House Committee Appropriations on Sunday lamented that nearly all government agencies have suffered significant budget reductions in the cash-based budgeting scheme indicated in the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, panel chair, said the limitations of a cash-based system “would result to less of everything: fewer classrooms, barangay health centers, roads, bridges, and energized sitios.”
“Hindi makaka-catch up ang Department of Health (DOH) sa health facilities enhancement, tigil muna yan sa 2019. Hindi makaka-catch up ang Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)nsa mga projects, tigil muna yan. Hindi maka catch up ang irrigation, tigil muna yan. Hindi maka catch up itong housing, tigil muna yan,” said Nograles.
Nograles said he recognizes the good concept of the cash-based budgeting scheme since it’s “more systematic” and “imposes fiscal discipline” than the current obligation-based budgeting.
“Actually, yong konsepto ng cash-based budgeting, maganda siyang konsepto. Kasi kung iisipin mo, tama nga naman. Talagang madi-disiplina ang mga government agencies. That’s the reason why, pinasa namin sa House of Representatives,” said Nograles.
But the Davao City-based solon stressed that although the cash-based budgeting is a good concept, next year is not the right time to impose the said policy.
“Hindi ako ready na sabihin na tama yong tumutol sa cash-based… maybe in the future kapag naka catch up na talaga ang mga department and agencies, then maybe that’s the time to do cash based as a policy but right now, it is not the right time,” said Nograles.
“Hindi naka adjust agad ang sistema. So nag-a-adjust pa lamang… nakita naman natin na nag-i-improve yong utilization ng funds, bibiglain na naman natin ang sistema with this cash-based budgeting. So ang naging implikasyon ng pagbigla ng sistema ay ano ang nangyari?” the Appropriations Committee chair added.
On Saturday, Nograles announced that his panel will suspend the budget deliberations for the proposed 2019 national budget until further notice. The budget measure was submitted by President Duterte during his State of the Nation Address last month.
Nograles explained that majority his colleagues have declared their opposition over the cash-based budgeting scheme submitted by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).
“Since the House position is to revert to obligation-based budgeting, we will give time to the DBCC to make the necessary changes,” Nograles said.