The House of Representatives approved on 2nd reading a bill extending the availability of the funds for maintenance and other operating expenses and capital outlays under the 2019 budget until Dec. 31, 2020.
House Bill 5437 was approved after House Committee on Appropriations chair Isidro Ungab sponsored the bill in the plenary.
HB 5437 is a substitute bill to HB 5400 authored by Ungab and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, and HB 5424 authored by Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr.
The measure amends Section 65 of the Republic Act 11260 or the General Appropriations Act of 2019.
Ungab said the late passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act and the election ban on the implementation of infrastructure and social services projects in view of the May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections resulted in the delay of the implementation of infrastructure and social services projects.
“There are appropriations that have not been released and allotment issued that have not been obligated which shall automatically lapse depriving the people and the country of the much-needed MOOE [maintenance and other operating expenses] and CO [capital outlay] to fund priority projects, financial assistance program, aid, and relief activities, as well as for the maintenance, construction/repair, and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and other essential facilities of the national government ” the Davao City lawmaker said.
House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez earlier said the extension of the validity of some portions of the 2019 budget is vital in ensuring that the funding requirements of some national projects under this year’s appropriations will continue until 2020.
“Without the extension, the unused funds will go back to the National Treasury,” he said.
“This is the best option to address the delayed implementation of programs and projects for the delivery of basic services,” Romualdez said. (PNA)