Senate's hands tied on Duterte budgeting amid House hold-up: Sotto

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 15 2018 11:04 AM

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MANILA - Senators support the cashed-based budgeting proposed by President Rodrigo Duterte's economic managers, but they have to wait for the House of Representatives to approve the measure before passing a counterpart bill, Senate President Tito Sotto said Wednesday. 

The budgeting scheme puts pressure on agencies and contractors to complete projects, or parts of the project within the year, thus preventing under-spending, Socioeconomic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia had said. 

The House has approved a bill institutionalizing cash-based budgeting in the proposed 2019 budget, but a movement in the chamber now wants the measure recalled and obligation-based budgeting returned. This has led to the suspension of budget deliberations. 

The Senate cannot approve the proposed 2019 General Appropriations Act without a bill from the lower chamber, noted Sotto. 

"Napagkasunduan namin na suportahan iyung President's budget, itong cash-based budgeting, sapagkat naniniwala kaming magiging mabuting paggastos ito ng pera ng taongbayan at hindi katulad ng mga nakaraang taon," he told radio DZMM. 

(We have agreed to support the President's budget, this cash-based budgeting, because we believe it's a good way to spend the people's money, unlike how we did in previous years.) 

"[Pero] Kung walang nanggagaling sa kanila para kami ay makakilos, e iyung NEP (National Expenditure Program) ang pag-uusapan namin at didinggin namin," 

(But without anything from the House so we can move on, we would deliberate instead on the NEP.) 

Prior to cashed-based budgeting, agencies have been allowed to disburse payments as obligations that may not necessarily be delivered within the same year.