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House seeks to make 2018 budget available beyond 2018

Mara Cepeda
House seeks to make 2018 budget available beyond 2018
If the unused allocations for 2018 are rendered invalid by January 1, 2019, then they cannot be used in the ongoing rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City

MANILA, Philippines – The  House of Representatives is seeking to extend for one year the availability of funds allocated for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and for capital outlay under the 2018 national budget.  

On Tuesday, November 20, lawmakers approved House Joint Resolution (HJR) 32 on second reading through viva voce voting or a vote of ayes and nays. 

If approved, HJR 32 would extend the validity of the MOEE and capital outlay funds under the 2018 budget to December 31, 2019. 

House committee on appropriations senior vice chairperson Maria Carmen Zamora pointed out there are still appropriations under the 2018 budget that had not been released yet. Without extension of the 2018 budget’s validity, the government will not be able to use these funds come January 1, 2019. 

HJR 32 is authored by Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, and Zamora.

Zamora, who sponsored the resolution at the plenary, said it is “imperative” to extend the 2018 budget to help in rehabilitation efforts following several calamities that hit the Philippines this year.

“The onslaught of the said calamities destroyed vital infrastructures and affected the delivery of basic services to the affected communities. Mister Speaker, there are appropriations that have not been released and allotments issued that have not been obligated,” said Zamora. 

“These automatically result in the reversion of the said unexpended appropriations to the unappropriated surplus of the general fund of the much-needed MOEE and capital outlay to fund priority projects, aid and relief as well as for the maintenance, construction, repair, and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and other essential facilities of the national government,” she added.

Andaya said the Senate also agreed to pass a similar joint resolution, which aims to ensure there will be funds for the ongoing rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City. 

The House already approved the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019 on 3rd and final reading on Tuesday.

Read a full copy of HJR 32 below:

Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.