The House of Representatives Budgets Committee passed a bill that would extend the validity of the 2021 state budget until the end of next year to ensure that the programs and projects funded that year are fully implemented.
At an online meeting on Wednesday, the House Board, chaired by Zamboanga Second District Deputy Manuel Jose Dalipe, approved House Law 10373, subject to style. For his part, MP for the first district of North Samar, Paul Ruiz Daza, expressed concern during deliberations on the language of the bill.
The bill aims to amend Section 62 of the General Provisions of Republic Act 11518 or the General Appropriations Act (GAA) of Fiscal Year 2021 to extend the availability of funds in 2021 through December 31, 2022.
Daza recommended that HB 10373 should have a specific provision to secure ongoing government projects that were already committed to funding but were yet to be disbursed.
“The various regulations of the GAA severely punish certain areas like my area because of typhoons and pandemics. So, whether committed or not, if funds are not paid out, they flow back into the treasury, ”said Daza.
Earlier this week, the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee urged the passage of a bill extending the availability of the 2021 GAA through December 31, 2022.
“[This is also] to implement government programs and projects and to ensure that the intended beneficiaries of these basic services are reached, “said ACT-CIS MP Eric Go Yap, chairman of the panel, on House Bill 10373.
“Towards the end of the year, there are still programs, projects and activities funded by the GAA 2021 that are desperately needed by the Filipino people, especially the most vulnerable sectors,” added Yap.
According to Yap, the pandemic affected opportunities for socio-economic growth and development and also brought disruption to government operations, which then led to delays in the release and issuance of budget allocations.
“The General Appropriations Act of 2021 is based on the philosophy that the focus of our resources is not only on our priorities for responsive and dynamic governance, but also on the most pressing priority – to reset our dynamism and our actions and stand out from the devastating effects to recover. “The health and economic pandemic and fully recover from the current and ongoing effects of the crisis,” he added.
The draft law provides that the funds for infrastructure investments, including the release of grants to state and controlled companies for infrastructure projects, by 31 December 2022 at the latest.
In contrast, the funds for maintenance and other operating costs as well as other capital expenditures also apply until December 31, 2022, with delivery, testing and payment being made by December 31, 2022 at the latest.
The draft law states that the Ministry of Budget and Administration is empowered to issue the necessary guidelines for the effective implementation of the cash budget system.
The bill also requires a report of these releases and payouts to be submitted to the House Speaker, Senate President, House Budget Committee, and Senate Finance Committee.
Last year, Congress also increased the availability of funding under the General Appropriations Act 2020 to support economic recovery efforts and pending government infrastructure projects.