A record-high P4.64-trillion cash national budget for 2021 was approved to pitch to the legislature while lauding Congress for the on-time passage of the 2020 spending bill on Wednesday, December 11.
After Cabinet-level Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s meeting, acting budget Secretary Wendel Avisado noted that the budget proposal for 2021 would be 13.3% higher than the next year’s P4.1 trillion budget.
Moreover, Avisado said the 2021 budget will be equivalent to 20.2% of gross domestic product (GDP).
“The proposed 2021 national budget will continue to support antipoverty and peace-sustaining measures through funding of recently approved legislative measures. In line with this, there will be continued funding for the following priority social protection and economic programs: Universal Health Care Program; Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program; Rice Tariffication Law; provision for the annual block grant, special development fund, and share in national taxes of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM); Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education; refocusing of national government assistance to LGUs (local government units) with high poverty incidence, and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures,” Avisado said.
National budget of the Philippines
Under Executive Order No. 91 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in September, Avisado said the 2020 and 2021 budgets would adopt the cash budgeting system.
As such, the national budgets during the next two years will have a validity of only one year, Avisado said.
Moreover, economic managers welcomed the two houses of Congress’ approval of the 2020 budget before going on Christmas break.
On Wednesday morning, the bicameral conference panel signed the report on the proposed 2020 appropriations.
“We’re glad that they finally approved it and ratified it because it will then also fast-track the signing of the 2020 budget by the President, that is within the month,” Avisado said.
“Certainly, [budget deliberations were] much improved over last year so we’re quite pleased that we will start next year with an honest to goodness 2020 budget rather than what happened this year,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said.
To recall, Mr. Duterte only signed this year’s budget only in mid-April as legislators had alleged anomalous insertions of “pork” funds in the budget.
Since the government operated using a reenacted 2018 budget at the start of the year, it underspent about P1 billion a day on public goods and services from January to April.