Progress made on budget okay

HOUSE Appropriations Committee chairman Rolando Andaya Jr. sold Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon  on the idea of passing the 2019 national budget without the one-year cash-based budgeting system.

The removal of the cash-based budgeting system was proposed by Andaya during Wednesday’s resumption of the Bicameral Conference Committee meeting.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno is insisting on the system as proposed in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

The proposed 2019 budget is P3.757 trillion.

“There is actually no legal basis for it (cash-based system) and from an implementing agency’s standpoint and view, it will actually cost more harm than good,” Andaya said.

He said the Commission on Audit (CoA) pointed out in its official statement on the matter that cash-based budgeting will cause more problems and will effect, like what is happening now, the ballooning of accounts payable.

“That kind of system opens the doors for corruption dahil bago ka mabayaran, maglalagay ka pa,” Andaya said.

Drilon, a member of the Senate bicam contingent, expressed his approval and inquired how the proposal could be implemented.

Andaya said the one year cash-based budgeting can be dropped if the life of the appropriations cover for capital outlays (CO) and maintenance and operating expenses (MOOE) would be extended for two years

While Drilon and Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance said they agree with Andaya on junking the cash-based budgeting system, they would have to consult with the other members of the Senate.

Meanwhile, the two Houses of Congress agreed to pass the budget before the adjournment on February 6, rejecting the earlier proposal of Senate President Tito Sotto for a reenacted budget.

And to clarify alleged insertions, the two heads (Andaya and Legarda) agreed to discuss in a one-on-one meeting the format for itemization of lump sum appropriations.

Andaya had revealed the P190 billion insertions made by the senators which they refused to disclose in the public. This is much higher than the P52 billion made by the 293 members of the House.

Also during the meeting, Legarda informed the committee that he got assurance from Secretary Diokno that there will be funds for the 2019 elections and salary adjustments of the state workers if the budget approval is delayed.

She said that she had talked personally with the DBM on these concerns and they assured her that the fund requirements for the May elections will be sourced from the P10 billion unutilized fund of the Commission on Elections, as well as from the Contingency Fund.

The fourth tranche of the Salary Standardization Law (SSL) 3, will be sourced from the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund (MPBF).