Department of Budget and Management ‘underspending’ explanation sought

November 24, 2018
Danilo Suarez
Danilo Suarez

THE House Minority group wants some government agencies, particularly the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to explain their “underspending”, already amounting to almost a trillion pesos.

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez has filed a resolution calling Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno to a question hour in the House to answer questions of the solons on underspending and unreleased allocated funds.

According to Suarez, Diokno has been ignoring the call of Congress to answer inquiries pursuant to its oversight functions.

“There are questions left unanswered regarding the utilization of the previous annual budget including the undeclared savings and unaccounted expenses.  The Minority is curious by this exhibited disinterest by the DBM,” Suarez said.

The group accused the DBM of not cooperating and being a hindrance to the supposed transparency of the budget and the government.

Concerning underspending, COOP NATCCO Rep. Anthony Bravo disclosed that for that last two years of the administration  (2016-2017), the total amount of unused appropriations is P985 billion (P596.6 billion in 2016) and P388.3 in 2017.

However, Bravo said, these unused budgetary allocations were not declared as savings unlike in the time of President Benigno Aquino when unused funds were considered and announced to the public as savings at the end of every fiscal year.

Among the top underspending government agencies are Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Department of Health (DoH); Department of Agriculture (DA); Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development.

The bloc expressed disappointment over the continued underspending of the administration when the country is facing high inflation rates, increasing number of jobless Filipinos and pending important infrastructure projects.

“Sad to say while we have unspent money, our employment rate continues to surge, government is contributory to the unemployment,” Bravo said.

“And not a single saving-related report on this,” the solon added.