MANILA The House Committee on Appropriations on Wednesday approved a proposal extending the availability of some portions of the 2019 national budget up to December 2020.
The panel approved House Joint Resolution Nos. 9 and 10, seeking to extend the availability of the 2019 appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO) to Dec. 31, 2020.
The joint resolutions seek to amend Section 65 of the general provisions of RA 11260 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2019, which provides that all appropriations shall be available for release and obligation until Dec. 31, 2019.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda said extending the funds' availability is necessary due to the delayed approval of this year's budget in April, the onset of the election ban for the May 2019 elections, and the restrictions imposed by the cash-based budgeting system.
Salceda said the budget delay resulted in a five-month implementation gap for projects, noting that it proportionally affected PHP290 billion in infrastructure projects--with already PHP180 billion underspent in the first half of the year--and PHP140 billion in maintenance expenses, which would equally require five months more to implement plus three months for payment.
A one-year extension is needed so the government need not go into costly crash programs just to meet the December 2019 deadline for implementation otherwise these vital funds will revert to the national coffers, Salceda said.
This would mean the catchup plan will have its impacts spread over one year and the deficit will lower in 2019 and slightly higher in 2020, he added.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said the leadership will prioritize the passage of the joint resolutions before Congress adjourns next week. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency