MANILA — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved bills that would extend the validity of the 2020 national budget and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) until next year.
In successive motions during plenary session, House lawmakers concurred with the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 6656 extending the validity of this year's budget until December 31, 2021.
They likewise approved the Senate’s amendments to House Bill 8063 that would allow the utilization of Bayanihan 2 funds until June 30, 2021.
President Rodrigo Duterte last Dec. 14 asked lawmakers to fast-track the extension of the validity of the two measures to ensure that delayed COVID-19 response projects would still be rolled out.
Without the extension, the funds will be reverted to the National Treasury upon expiration of the two laws.
Bayanihan 2 will be valid only until Dec. 19, 2020, while the 2020 national budget is set to expire after Dec. 31, 2020.
As of November 30, the government has yet to utilize some P110 billion under the 2020 budget, as well as about P38 billion under the Bayanihan 2, Sen. Sonny Angara had said.
OTHER MEASURES ACTED ON
Meanwhile, the House also ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the disagreeing provisions of House Bill 6816 and Senate Bill 1849 or the proposed "Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act."
The bill would help banks and financial institutions by allowing them to unload their non-performing loans to special purpose asset vehicles.
The House likewise adopted the Senate’s version of the bill creating the coco levy trust fund. The adoption came during the plenary session, with no objections.
With these approvals, the measures will be enrolled and transmitted for the signatures of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and eventually the President.