Hearings on P3.767-T nat’l budget set; OP asks P6.77 B

Published July 29, 2018, 2:55 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio and Genalyn Kabiling

House budget hearings under the Speakership of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will begin tomorrow as scheduled, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles bared.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles (Federico Cruz / File | Manila Bulletin)
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles
(Federico Cruz / File | Manila Bulletin)

President Duterte is requesting a P6.77-billion budget for his office in 2019, higher than the P6.03 billion allocation this year.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) will receive a P447.6-million budget under the proposed national budget for 2019 which is lower than the P543 million allocated to the OVP this year.

“As promised under Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the per-agency debates on the P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019 will start this week. The House recognizes the importance of the immediate passage of the national budget and we in the Appropriations panel are bent on approving the best possible General

Appropriations Act (GAA) in a timely manner,” Nograles said.

He confirmed officially receiving Malacañang’s proposed National Expenditure Program (NEP) from Speaker Arroyo’s office. Submitted by the Palace to Congress last Monday, the NEP will serve as the basis for the 2019 GAA.

Under the proposed 2019 GAA, education will remain a top priority of the Duterte administration, followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of National Defense, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Health, Transportation, Agriculture, Judiciary and the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among the first to be scrutinized by the Nograles panel are the proposed budgets of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Finance (DOF), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

“Kudos to the transition committee for facilitating the smooth transfer of duties from the old to the new leadership,” said Nograles, referring to the team of congressmen who paved the way for Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Arroyo’s assumption of the House Speakership.

“Like the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), there was no way that Speaker Arroyo would allow the delay in the budget deliberations. The House will not be remiss in exercising the power of the purse,” he said.

It can be recalled that the BOL was ratified last Tuesday, July 24, a day after Arroyo assumed the Speakership. President Rodrigo Duterte has since affixed his signature to the law.

“Now, we are poised to continue the streak of approving the budget on time, without any re-enacted budget under President Duterte,” said Nograles, who took over the Appropriations panel at the start of the 17th Congress in July 2016.

Cash-based budget

The proposed 2019 national budget is cash-based as opposed to traditional, multi-year obligations-based budgeting. The DBM has described it as the more efficient budgeting method since it limits incurring obligations and disbursing payments for goods delivered and services rendered, inspected, and accepted within the fiscal year.

“Of course we have to scrutinize the wisdom of this new system considering certain realities in the implementation of critical government projects. We also have to weigh in on its effects on long-term big ticket projects,” Nograles said.

Also scheduled to be tackled by the House this week are the proposed budgets of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Department of Agriculture (DA), National Food Authority (NFA), National Irrigation Administration (NIA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

OP budget

President Duterte is requesting a P6.77-billion budget for his office in 2019, higher than the P6.03 billion allocation this year.
Of the proposed new appropriations, P5.18 billion will be allocated to maintenance and operating expenses (MOOE), P1.07 billion to personnel services, and P511 million to capital outlay.

The President’s proposed intelligence expenses remained unchanged at P1.25 billion and confidential expenses stayed at P1.25 billion.

Under maintenance and other operating expenses, the President’s professional services increased to P386 million in 2019 from P302 million this year while his representation allocation jumped to P357 million from P153 million.

Also receiving higher budget proposal are repairs and maintenance (P257 million from P197 million), supplies and materials (P254 million from P128 million), communication (P140 million from P102 million), rent/lease (P143 million from P111 million) and utility (P132 million from P103 million).

The OP’s travel funds, on the other hand, have been reduced to P795 million in 2019 from the P884-million budget this year.

OVP budget

The proposed budget allocation of P447.6 million to the OVP is lower than the P543 million allocated this year. At least P350.1 million will go to maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), P94.5 million for personnel services, and P3 million for capital outlays.

Included in the maintenance expenses are financial assistance/subsidy (P197 million), professional services (P32 million), representation (P27 million), travel funds (P25 million), supplies and materials (P15.5 million), and repair and maintenance of leased assets (P4 million).

The budget proposal, posted on the Department of Budget and Management website, also laid down the OVP’s organizational outcome, which is “enhanced strategic partnership and advocacy in good governance.”

Its performance indicators include ceremonial and technical support services and good governance programs.

The government has proposed a substantial cut in the travel funds of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) next year amid President Duterte’s restrictions on foreign trips.

Under its proposed P98-million budget, the commission’s travel funds have been pegged at P2.78 million for 2019, lower than the P18.7 million set this year.

The total budget of the commission will be divided among the maintenance and other operating expenses (P57.9 million), personnel services (P34.4 million), and capital outlay (P6.4 million).