The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) met with the Senate Finance Committee on August 7, 2018 to discuss the details of the 2019 National Budget, along with other pertinent information on the status of the Philippine economy.
The DBCC comprised by committee chair Department of Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Department of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, National Economic and Development Authority Secretray Ernesto Pernia, and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla briefed the senators, after meeting previously with the Congress Committee on Appropriations.
The 2019 National Budget is the Philippines’ first-ever cash-based budget. The budget was crafted to address the government’s inefficiency woes, which has led to high underspending levels in the past.
“The previous administration was notorious in underspending as it reached 13% in 2014 and 2015. In those two years alone, foregone projects due to underspending amounted to P631 billion,” the Budget Secretary said.
The Duterte administration has been keen on minimizing, and gradually eliminating, underspending. In fact, by limiting the validity of appropriations to one-year, underspending has been sizably cut to P85.2 billion (or just 3%) in 2017.
A cash-based budget instills greater fiscal discipline and prudent use of limited resources. Several senators have expressed their full support of the new budgeting system, including Senate Finance Committee Chair Loren Legarda, Senator Richard Gordon, and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.
The one-year time horizon of budget execution will push heads of government agencies to plan ahead, conduct early procurement, and regularly monitor implementation.
“The shift to a cash-based budget is expected to increase the efficiency of government operations; it will result in faster and improved delivery of public services,” Secretary Diokno noted.
Budget briefings with the Senate Finance Committee will continue tomorrow, August 8, 2018.