MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives passed a joint resolution extending the validity of the current P3.757-trillion budget in 2019 until December 31, 2020.
With a vote of 199-0-0, lawmakers approved House Joint Resolution No. 19 on 3rd and final reading on Monday, November 4. The Senate version of the measure has also passed the committee level.
The resolution would extend the life of funds allocated for the maintenance and other operating expenses and for capital outlay under the 2019 budget.
House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez previously said they wanted to extend the 2019 budget’s validity following the months-long delay in its approval as well as the election ban that had barred the government from spending funds for new projects during the May elections.
The passage of the 2019 budget was hounded by multiple accusations of illegal budget insertions, including the alleged return of pork barrel and the so-called “parking” funds scheme.
The House, Senate, and even the executive branch clashed over the budget, causing a months-long delay in its passage and leading to the government reenacting the 2018 budget in the first quarter of 2019.
President Rodrigo Duterte was able to approve the 2019 budget only in April, but he made sure to veto the controversial multi-billion funds under Department of Public Works and Highways.
The government’s economic team said the delay in resolving the budget impasse in the first quarter of 2019 hurt the government’s poverty reduction efforts and kept around 420,000 Filipinos poor.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado already clarified before the Senate finance panel that the implementation and payment for infrastructure projects are already extended until the end of 2020. – Rappler.com