A JOINT resolution has been filed at the Senate to extend the validity of the 2019 budget until December 2020, following second reading approval by the House of Representatives on a similar measure.
Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara filed Senate Joint Resolution No. 7 which seeks to extend the availability of the 2019 appropriations for maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlays by a year.
“The delay in the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act and the election ban on the implementation of infrastructure projects and social services in view of the May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections (resulted in) projects and programs for the delivery of basic services that were not implemented,” according to the resolution.
Mr. Angara’s resolution noted that there were still appropriations that have not been released and unobligated allotment which will result in the reversion of unexpended appropriations.
On Wednesday, the House approved on second reading the chamber’s Joint Resolution No. 19, which consolidates House Joint Resolution No. 9 by Antique Rep. Lorna Regina B. Legarda and House Joint Resolution No. 10 by San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo B. Zamora and Davao Oriental 2nd district Rep. Joel Mayo Z. Almari.
The budget passage was delayed by nearly four months, and when President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the spending plan in April he vetoed about P95.3 billion in public works items.
The 2019 budget was the first use-it-or-lose-it spending plan passed under new “cash-based” budgeting rules, which gave agencies only a year to disburse the appropriations in order to ensure that funds were spent quickly.
The budget delay has been cited as a factor in the sharp slowdown in economic growth, because of the delays in the release of infrastructure funds, which had to reach the contractors in time for the critical dry-season building window. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras