The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) urged all state offices to prioritize the utilization of unused appropriations under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
DBM Assistant Secretary Rolando Toledo made the call as he stressed that the extended validity of the 2019 budget would expire on Dec. 31, 2020.
“We still have to continue, given the fact that it’s a continuing appropriation up to 2020. Then it’s not yet fully obligated,” the Budget official said in a press briefing with Palace reporters.
“If I [were] the agency…, dapat i-prioritize nila ‘yung 2019 budget na continuing appropriations (I’d prioritize the continuing appropriations of unused 2019 budget),” he added.
On Dec. 20, 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11464, which extends the availability of the 2019 national budget until Dec. 31, 2020 to allow the continuity of appropriation of unobligated funds.
The national government was forced to operate on a reenacted 2018 budget from January to mid-April 2019 because Congress failed to pass last year’s budget on time due to supposed insertions and realignments made by some lawmakers.
In October last year, DBM said there are still at least PHP1.161-trillion unobligated funds under the 2019 GAA.
Around PHP324.758 billion of the PHP1.161-trillion unobligated funds are for maintenance and other operating expenses, while the remaining PHP339.53-billion appropriations are for capital outlays.
“So right now, we haven’t determined yet how much is the balance of that (unobligated funds), given that there are still agencies closing the books,” Toledo said. “Until February, probably, we will know the levels of how much are the balances.”
The President, meantime, signed into law on Monday the PHP4.1-trillion national budget for 2020, which is 9 percent higher than last year’s PHP3.76-trillion budget.
Toledo said all government agencies can simultaneously use their respective 2019 and 2020 allocations.
He also called on them to implement their projects “within a given period or a given fiscal year.”
“Kung ako ‘yung ahensya, ipa-prioritize ko syempre yung nakaraang budget kasi (If I were the agency, I’d prioritize the previous budget because) that would lapse up to 2020, while of course, the 2020 budget will still be, kumbaga i-implement iyan (implemented) following the implementation of those continuing appropriations from the 2019 budget,” he said. (PNA)