Senate OKs extended validity of 2019 budget on 3rd reading

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 26 2019 04:26 PM

MANILA - The Senate has unanimously approved on third reading the bill seeking to extend the validity of some portions of the 2019 budget until next year.

The measure would allow agencies to spend funds for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays in the 2019 national budget until December 31, 2020. That’s after the late passage of this year’s appropriations, and the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects.

The MOOE covers daily operational costs of government units, while capital outlay is allocation for infrastructure construction or improvement.

"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 of infrastructure and social services projects," Sen. Sonny Angara said in his explanatory note on the bill.

"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 and CO to fund priority projects, financial assistance program, aid, and relief activities," he added.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto issued a reminder to government agencies as the bill moved up the legislative ladder. 

“Agencies should not resort to, and DBM (Department of Budget and Management) must not countenance the usual recipes in the almanac of fake spending, like transferring the procurement to another agency,” he said.

“This bill is more about giving government a chance to accelerate actual spending and less about giving more time for them to do it."

In April, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the P3.7-trillion 2019 budget with vetoed provisions following alleged insertions in the spending plan, which forced government to operate on a reenacted 2018 budget.