Diokno dangles supplemental budget to tax package-leery Congress
Congress is seeking a supplemental budget for this year to compensate for the proposed cuts in some agencies’ coffers for next year, according to Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno.
In a press conference, the Budget chief said “there’s a possibility” for the executive to submit a supplemental budget if Congress passed all the remaining tax reform packages.
“It’s difficult to initiate and pass a supplemental budget, [as it] requires that the executive should identify the source of financing. So we cannot just pass the supplemental budget to Congress without telling them the source of funding. So if Congress will pass all tax measures, then there’s a possibility,” Diokno explained.
He pointed out a supplemental budget has to have an “overwhelming justification—the justification and source of financing have to be clear.”
“Let me make this very clear—there is no initiative on our part to have a supplemental budget. The congressmen feel that because of the cuts that we made in the 2019 budget, we need a supplemental budget. So that’s open for discussion,” the Budget chief said.
Asked why the supplemental budget was sought for this year, Diokno said: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s this year or next year because if it’s supplemental budget for 2018, which we will release sometime in December assuming we have funds, it will actually take effect next year.”
As for some lawmakers’ recent statements claiming that there was a compromise for a “hybrid” 2019 national budget, Diokno said using the term was “very confusing.”
Instead, Diokno described the budget proposal for next year as a “transitory” cash-based budget. “What we did is to [just] extend the payment period [for projects] from three months to six months.”
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