By Maricel Cruz, August 1, 2018; Manila Standard Today


Image Credit to House of Representative

The House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations is targeting to finish budget deliberations by the end of the month.

This is to enable the House in plenary session to pass the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 in September, one month ahead of the filing of COCs for the May 2019 elections, according to Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, the panel’s chairman, said.

Nograles made the statement as his committee began Monday its deliberations on the national budget.

Nograles said that the 2019 national budget, the third expenditure plan of the Duterte administration, is the first cash-based budget presented to the committee.

Malacañang submitted the 2019 General Appropriations Bill to the Lower House last July 23

Nograles noted “the proposed cash-based appropriations of P3.757 trillion is lower than the 2018 budget of P3.767 trillion.”

“We must see to it that every peso that goes into the national budget is a peso that will benefit and support the government socioeconomic agenda particularly the acceleration of infrastructure spending, investment in human capital development including education, health and other social services and peace-enabling initiatives,” Nograles said.

The Budget department dubbed the 2019 National Expenditure Program as “Building a Bright Future for the Philippines and Its People.”

“This is consistent with the administration’s goal of transforming the country into a middle-income society where everyone has the opportunity to make his or her life better through provision of infrastructure and human capital development,” Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

He added that the 2019 national budget guarantees a better and more disciplined accountable cash-based budget that will support strong, sustainable and inevitable growth.

Diokno added that “this budget that will make the Philippines a better, fair, safer, greener and more beautiful than what it was a year before. The budget is always for our shared future.”

Diokno described the budget as “revolutionary in a sense that it is the first cash-based budget of the government.”

He explained that under a cash-based appropriation, there is greater fiscal discipline and prudent use of budget, faster and improved delivery of essential public services, and more open and accountable government.

Under the proposed 2019 national budget, the biggest allocations go to the following items: personnel services (P1,184.9 billion or 31.5 percent of total), maintenance expenditures (P557.5 billion or 14.8 percent), Capital Outlays (P758.4 billion or 20.2 percent), allotment to local governments (P640.6 billion or 17.1 percent), support to government-owned-and-controlled corporations (P187.1 billion or 5.0 percent), tax expenditures (P14.5 billion or 0.4 percent), and debt service (P414.1 billion or 11 percent).

The Department of Education still gets the lion’s share of the national budget, as well as State Colleges and Universities, Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, totaling P659.3 billion; Department of Public Works and Highways, P555.7 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government, P 225.6 billion; Department of National Defense, P 183.4 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P 173.3 billion; Department of Health, P 141.4 billion; Department of Transportation, P76.1 billion; Department of Agriculture, P49.8 billion; Judiciary, P37.3 billion; and Autonmous Region in Muslim Mindanao, P32.3 billion

The allocation of P283.5 billion will to social programs like the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, National Health Insurance Program, Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education, Free Irrigation for Framers, Basic Educational Facilities Program, Rice Subsidy for Military and Uniformed Personnel, and Support for Sugarcane Producers/Farmers.​