Senate panel wants 2019 budget valid until December 2020

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 06 2019 11:34 PM

MANILA - Proposals seeking to extend the validity of the 2019 budget until the end of next year has been approved by the Senate Finance Committee.

Sixteen of the panel’s 20 members signed Senate Joint Resolution 9, allowing government agencies to spend this year’s capital outlay (CO) and maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) allocations until December 31, 2020.

MOOE refers to the daily operational costs of government units, while CO is an agency’s budget to build or improve its infrastructure.

The delayed passage of this year’s budget and a ban on the construction of hard projects months before the 2019 elections “resulted in the delay of the implementation of infrastructure projects and social services,” according to the resolution, dated November 4.

The government had to operate on a reenacted budget in the first quarter of 2019 after the spending bill’s passage was delayed due to billions-worth of insertions that allegedly favored allies of former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

If the validity of the 2019 budget is not extended, appropriations that have not been released shall automatically lapse by the end of the year “depriving the people and the country of much-needed MOOE and CO to fund priority projects, financial assistance program, aid, and relief activities,” it said.

The maintenance, construction and repairs of public schools, hospitals and other government infrastructure will also be hampered, it said.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and senators Richard Gordon, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Leila de Lima, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan defered from signing the resolution.

The House of Representatives unanimously approved a similar resolution on Monday.

The Senate has yet to pass the measure on third and final reading.