BUDGET HEARING. Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman discusses the subsidy of the farmers and fisherfolk during the second day of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s briefing on the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) in the Senate on Thursday (Sept. 15, 2022). Pangandaman said there will be no "For Later Release" (FLR) funds in 2023.(PNA photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – There will be no "For Later Release" (FLR) funds in 2023, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said on Thursday.

During the second day of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC)’s briefing on the proposed 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) in the Senate, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said the agency has opted not to include expenditure items for later release.

This, as Pangandaman said the term "FLR" funds was not used during her stint as DBM undersecretary under the leadership of then Budget chief and now Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno.

“Under Secretary Diokno po, wala po kaming tinatawag na FLR (we did not use the term FLR). So it’s actually something new to us when I reentered DBM,” she said.

Pangandaman also noted that her latest directive was meant to avoid delay in the disbursement of funds.

“When I entered DBM, nakita ko po na napakaraming dokumento ang kailangan pirmahan at ipadala sa (there are so many documents that need to be signed and transmitted to the) Office of the President. I thought then that it’s quite tedious for the staff and even the Office of the President na tumatagal po ‘yung sistema ng pagre-release ng budget (that it takes some time to release the budget)," Pangandaman said.

"So, pag-assume po natin, nagbigay po tayo ng instructions na wala na po dapat na for later release sa mga pondo po ng gobyerno (So, when I assumed the office, my instruction was there should be no government funds for later release)," she added.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the disbursement of FLR funds is irreconcilable with cash-based budgeting system (CBS).

The national government is adopting the CBS to promote the faster implementation of government programs by ensuring that funding requirements for priority projects are sufficient, maximized by agencies, and delivered on time.

Angara cited economic principles of efficiency and opportunity cost as factors negating the utility of FLR funds.

Pangdandaman earlier said the DBM will pursue the institutionalization of the CBS through the proposed Modernization Bill.

The CBS, she said, will help ensure that every peso budgeted by the government will lead to the actual delivery of programs and projects.

The CBS is expected to address bottlenecks in obligations, which is expected to result in on-time implementation and disbursement of the government's programmed projects and provide for better planning of government agencies leading to higher utilization rates and improved public service delivery. (PNA)