Duterte submits proposed P3.757-trillion 2019 nat'l budget to Congress

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte submitted on Monday, July 23 to Congress the first ever cash-based P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

The first cash-based budget of the government, the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) amounts to P3.757 trillion. The figure represents 19.3% of the projected gross domestic product (GDP) for 2019.

The proposed budget is higher by P439.4 billion or 13.2% than its cash-based equivalent in the 2018 budget of P3.318 trillion.

Unlike last year, Duterte did not submit the budget right after delivering his speech. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said that it was forwarded to the Office of the Speaker of the House at 6:26 pm, Monday.

The shift to cash-based budgeting is aimed to reduce underspending among agencies. Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno earlier said the set-up would "force" government agencies to spend because the shift would mean their budgets are valid only for one year. Unspent allocations for the year will revert to savings.

Prior to the shift, obligation-based budgeting allowed agencies up to two years to spend their budgets. 

Under the proposed 2019 budget, education, infrastructure, and the interior government departments will get the most funds

The education sector receives the lion's share of the funds at P659.3 billion – P72.2 billion higher than its cash-based equivalent in the 2018 budget of P587.1 billion.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) receives the second highest fund allocation for next year at P555.7 billion. It is 68.29% higher than its P225.5 billion budget the previous year.

During his speech, Duterte again mentioned his commitment to higher salaries for the police and military. The Department of the Interior and Local Government received a proposed allocation of P225.6 billion, or P53.3 billion higher than the previous year's P172.3 billion due to the said salary increase.

In terms of sectoral allocation, social services remained the biggest recipient at P1.377 trillion, equivalent to 36.7% of the proposed budget.

It was followed by general public services – which included allocations for general administration, public order and safety, other general public services, and subsidies to local government units (LGUs) – at P709.1 billion. The defense sector gets P188.2 billion.

The budget for economic services in the NEP will be at P1.068 trillion while debt burden is at P414.1 billion.

On July 10, President Rodrigo Duterte approved the proposed national budget for 2019. 

Budget briefings by the House committee on appropriations will be from July 31 to August 29. Diokno said the 2019 General Appropriations Act is slated to be passed into law by November. – Rappler.com