MANILA - Sen. Sonny Angara has filed a bill seeking to allow spending of the 2019 national budget to December 2020, citing the late passage of this year's appropriations and the midterm election ban on infrastructure projects.
Angara filed Senate Bill No. 1153 2 days after the chamber's finance committee approved a resolution allowing government agencies to spend allocations for their capital outlay (CO) and maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) until December 31, 2020.
The MOOE covers daily operational costs of government units, while CO is the portion of the budget allocated 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," Angara said in his explanatory note.
"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 said.
Though the bill has yet to hurdle the finance committee, a similar resolution was signed by 16 of the panel’s 20 members last week.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the P3.7-trillion 2019 national budget in April this year, after questions surrounded alleged insertions in the spending plan.
Until then, government operated on a reenacted 2018 budget.