MANILA, August 7, 2017 — Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Monday said government underspending is a “major flaw” that is delaying several projects from being completed, particularly in infrastructire.
“The government is not implementing the budget fast enough. We need better budget reforms,” Diokno told the Senate Committee on Finance during the first hearing on the proposed 2018 national budget of P3.767 trillion.
This amount is 12.4 percent higher than the P3.35 trillion budget for 2017 and represents 21.6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Diokno said although underspending has improved over the years, it is still happening.
He said in 2016, budget underspending reached P96.3 billion or 3.6 percent of the budget.
Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said it is “imperative” that the country’s legal framework on public financial management framework be “revised and updated.”
She said this would ensure efficient budget execution, financial management, and the limiting of executive discretion in budget implementation.
Legarda said it is also imperative that Congress ensure that existing policies on public financial management are fiscally responsible, transparent, and involve people’s participation.
On July 24, President Rodrigo Duterte submitted to Congress the proposed 2018 national budget.
The Department of Budget and Management earlier said the proposed budget prioritizes education and infrastructure development, particularly for the government’s infrastructure program, “Build, Build, Build,” and the provision of social services to the people. PNA