House indefinitely suspends budget hearings

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2018 07:11 PM

MANILA—The House of Representatives is suspending deliberations on the 2019 national budget until further notice.

The office of appropriations committee chair Rep. Karlo Nograles issued the announcement to House media on Saturday.

"The House will be suspending budget briefings until further notice. Please inform all departments and agencies of the decision. Hold all budget briefings until further notice," the statement said.

Pressed by the media for further details, Nograles said it was a decision of the House. 

“To be consistent with the position of the House to oppose cash-based budgeting. And since we will revert to obligation-based budgeting we will give time to (Development Budget Coordination Committee) to make the necessary changes," he said.

The House leadership has started to circulate for the signatures of all members for an unnumbered resolution that will recall House Bill 7302 or the Budget Reform Bill from the Senate. 

The House had approved the measure in March but changed its mind after seeing the effects of cash-based budgeting in the 2019 budget.

The Budget Reform Bill would institutionalize cash-based budgeting in place of the current obligation-based budgeting system. 

Cash-based budgeting allows government to appropriate, bid out, complete and pay projects within a single year. 

Obligation-based budgeting, meanwhile, allows government to do the same but spread out across 2 years or more. 

Cash-based budgeting has been blamed for a cut of P300 billion in capital outlay or new projects in the 2019 budget.