By Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Thursday said that the Senate may not be able to pass the proposed 2019 P3.757 trillion national budget (General Appropriations Act) before it goes on a month-long Christmas break starting December 15.
Thus, the Duterte administration would be forced to run the government machinery using the current 2018 P3 trillion national budget in the first several weeks of 2019.
“We will try but at this point, the plenary debate on the budget is still in the General Principles (of the budget) which is just the first step and we have yet to touch on the budgets of the different departments,’’ he said.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) had discussed with Senate leaders on the importance of Congress being able to pass the national budget and the President being able to sign it into law before the end of the year.
DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the 2019 fiscal year will see the implementation for the first time of the cash budgeting scheme.
This scheme is highly different from the current obligational budgeting system. In a cash-based budgeting, departments have to spend their budgets within prescribed fiscal year.