‘Reenacted budget brings back Arroyonomics‘
Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday warned of the repercussions of a reenacted budget to the administration’s priority programs, particularly the implementation of the landmark Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
This developed even as Senate President Vicente Sotto III announced the chamber’s support for the cash-based approach to budgeting that colleagues at the House of Representatives wanted changed to the multi-year obligation budget system.
“The entire Senate, in caucus, have agreed to support the President’s budget on the annual cash-based” system.
Under such a system, projects and programs contracted for implementation during the fiscal year have to be delivered by the end of the same year while an obligation budget allows agencies to allot or “obligate” funds without requiring implementing agencies to deliver them within the year.
Drilon said talks of a reenacted 2019 budget are “foolish and counter-productive.”
According to Drilon, the House of Representatives’ plan to return the proposed 2019 national budget to the executive “has never been done before.”
At the same time, Drilon questioned the basis of such move.
On 9 August, House Appropriations Committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles said they will recall the proposed P3.757 trillion national expenditure program submitted to the Senate after learning of the Department of Budget and Management’s plan to shift to cash-based budgeting.
The DBM responded by saying the fiscal sector was ready for a reenacted 2019 budget if Congress insists on obligation-based budgeting.
“So, stop these foolish talks of a reenacted budget. It’s not good practice and it will not lead us anywhere,” Drilon said in a statement.
“It will prejudice every Juan de la Cruz and it will be detrimental to the economy and the implementation of crucial laws such as the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” he added.
If the budget is reenacted, Drilon said the implementation of the BOL that the President himself supported, will be affected “because we will not be able to give to the Bangsamoro government additional funding necessary for its development, including the block grant amounting to approximately P60 billion to P70 billion.”
On top of the block grant, Drilon said the landmark law requires additional funding such as the annual P5 billion development allocation for a 10-year period, the P7.2 billion for retirement benefits of employees who will be affected by the transition, and the P1 billion during the transition, among others.
“A reenacted budget is bad for the country and will reflect badly on the President as it will make him appear weak,” Drilon reiterated.
He also said a reenacted budget will affect the economy given that government expenditure accounts for 20 percent of the economy.
“If the government operates under a reenacted budget, then there can be no new programs and projects in 2019 to help pump prime the economy because there will be no capital outlay,” Drilon noted.
Drilon emphasized a reenacted budget will be detrimental to government employees who are set to receive the fourth tranche of salary increasse next year.
For her part, Rep. Risa Hontiveros warned that a reenacted budget would lead to return of the economics of former President and now House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.
“A reenacted budget will reenact ‘Arroyonomics’ infamous for playing fast and loose with public funds,” said Hontiveros in a separate statement.
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