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Gov't cannot spend money beyond the legislative mandate —Diokno
Philippines:Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno brushed off speculations that the government is wasting money by overspending its budget.
"We cannot overspend. We cannot spend more than what the Congress has allowed us, authorized us to spend. That is our limit. So hindi namin pwede waldasin," Diokno told GMA News Online on Wednesday.
The Budget chief also criticized those who are spreading assumptions that the government is scrambling for funds to cover its expansionary fiscal policy.
"We have a lot of money. We can always borrow money. In fact, in my understanding below pa nga kami sa borrowing namin, eh," Diokno said.
Up to 86.5 percent of the 2017 national budget has been released during the first seven months of the year, data from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) showed.
In January to July, the allotment releases reached P2.897 trillion or 86.5 percent of the P3.350 trillion general appropriations program.
The allotments comprised P1.742 trillion agency-specifc budgets, P220.8 billion special purpose funds, and P886.3 billion automatic appropriations—mostly made up of the internal revenue allotment of P486.9 billion and interest payments of P334.9 billion.
The balance of P452.9 billion or 13.5 percent of the P3.350 trillion obligation program has yet to be released before the end of the year.
To sustain the economic growth momentum, the government aims to boost spending by widening the deficit level of 3 percent of the gross domestic product.
The fiscal program this year consists of P2.990 trillion in revenue against P3.517 trillion of disbursements for a deficit of P527 billion.
To cover the deficit spending, Diokno earlier said the government will observe an 80:20 borrowing mix in favor of domestic banks while 20 percent will be sourced from foreign lenders.
The government intends to borrow P631.3 billion this year to support vital services and repay loans, DBM data showed.
The monthly status of the fiscal position is available and can be access via the Bureau of the Treasury website, Diokno said.
"They just have to look at the numbers the BTr reports every month kung ano ang status natin," he said.
As of end-July, the national government posted a budget gap of P205 billion from total expenditures of P1.576 trillion and revenues of P1.371 trillion, data from BTr showed.
"We have a very healthy cash position," Treasurer Rosalia de Leon said in a separate text message to GMA News Online on Friday.
"Cash is not only from revenues. We also borrow to finance expenditures. At the same time, we have carryover surplus from previous months," De Leon noted.
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