By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) accepted another budget cut for next year to set an example in supporting the Duterte administration’s massive infrastructure program and public investments.
In a statement, the DOF said the House Committee on Appropriations endorsed for congressional approval the department and its attached agencies’ P17.29-billion budget for 2020, an eight percent decline compared with this year’s approved funding of P18.89 billion.
According to the DOF, the endorsed 2020 outlay marked the department’s third straight fiscal year of budget cut.
In 2017, the DOF had an approved annual budget of P19.73 billion.
“We will continue to build on our efforts to maintain fiscal stability and to improve our revenue collection performance to achieve inclusive economic growth for our country,” Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said.
“Our fiscal objectives in the DOF were honed to support the administration’s priority programs, such as the massive infrastructure program and public investments to improve the lives of our people,” he added.
Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing, one of the senior vice chairpersons of the House appropriations committee, sponsored the DOF budget before the House plenary.
In his sponsorship speech, Suansing cited the sound fiscal policies and reform measures implemented in the first half of the Duterte administration, such as the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law and a higher investment-grade credit rating of BBB-Plus for the Philippines.
“These reforms and substantive gains enable us to fund critical government programs — programs badly needed by our constituents. Hence, it is but prudent to equip the Department of Finance and its attached agencies with sufficient budget to keep this momentum of fiscal reforms and gains,” Suansing said.
If automatic appropriations, unprogrammed appropriations and budgetary support for government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) were included, the DOF’s total budget for 2020 would amount to P56 billion.
The DOF’s automatic appropriations of P1.4 billion, covered retirement and life insurance premiums of P720 million and special accounts in the General Fund of P700 million.