THE Senate finance committee yesterday made headway after it passed the proposed 2019 budgets of three government offices, namely, the Departments of Public Works and Highways (DWPH), Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
Despite proposal to revert to the old Office of the Press Secretary, PCOO’s 2019 budget worth P1.41 billion was approved but only in “principle” by the finance sub-committee “F” handled by Senator JV Ejercito.
The Senate will still wait for the submission of PCOO’s new structure as OPS. The return to the old OPS was ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Ejercito also raised the possibility that PCOO’s budget would be increased if the proposed revival of press attache to at least six territories would push through.
The DPWH’s proposed P555.7 billion budget for 2019 – P95 billion lower than its budget in 2018 — was also approved by finance sub-committee “A” of Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
The decrease was prompted by the shift to cash based budget system from the previous obligation based budgeting.
Lacson reiterated his call for Secretary Mark Villar to improve on the planning aspects of all projects being undertaken by the department.
Meanwhile, DILG’s proposed P223 billion budget for 2019 also got the nod of the Senate.
But Lacson reminded the DILG about its underspending during the past years, leaving P9.5 billion unused funds since 2011.
This made DILG Secretary Eduardo Ano vow to improve the department’s budget utilization for 2019 – aiming for 100 percent obligation rate.
The proposed 2019 budgets of the DPWH, DILG and PCOO will now be submitted to the plenary for approval.