Diokno: No underspending issue under Duterte
I am writing in response to Ben O. de Vera’s article, “Budget underspending still an issue” (Business, 2/11/19).
De Vera claimed that the Duterte administration underspent in 2017 with a disbursement-to-obligations rate of 74.7 percent. Underspending is the difference between actual expenditures and programmed expenditures.
According to data from the Department of Budget and Management, P2.824 trillion, or 97.1 percent, was disbursed of the P2.909-trillion program for 2017. This translates to an underspending rate of 2.9 percent.
The underspending rate of 2.9 percent is significantly lower compared to underspending in the later years of President Benigno Aquino III’s administration, when it was recorded to be as high as 13.3 percent and 12.8 percent in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The figures show that the second Aquino administration’s actual spending was well below programmed spending. This has not been the case under the Duterte administration.
In 2016, the year President Duterte assumed office, underspending was drastically reduced to 3.6 percent by yearend. In 2017, the first full year of the Duterte administration, it was cut further to 2.9 percent.
We will continue to ensure that the spending program will be followed to the letter within a fiscal year. We are on track in eliminating underspending for 2018.
As of September 2018, or the first three quarters of the year, government expenditures have exceeded programmed expenditures by 2.6 percent.
BENJAMIN E. DIOKNO, secretary, Department of Budget and Management
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