House OKs bill extending validity of 2021 budget until end-December 2022
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on final reading Monday a bill that would extend the validity of the 2021 national budget until the end of December next year.
With 168 affirmative votes, six negative, and no abstention, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 10373 which seeks to amend the Republic Act No. 11518 or the General Appropriations Act 2021 by extending the availability of this year’s budget until December 31, 2022.
“This is to allow the agencies to fully utilize the allocated budget for 2021 to implement government programs and projects and to ensure that the intended beneficiaries of these basic services are reached,” appropriations committee chair and bill author Eric Yap said in the measure’s explanatory note.
According to Yap, the coronavirus pandemic brought disruptions that delayed many programs, projects, and activities funded under the 2021 budget.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, who voted negative on the measure, said that while there is a need to continue the programs that cater to the urgent needs of Filipinos, the “inefficiency and incompetence” in the use of public funds cannot be tolerated.
“While the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) already issued obligational authority for P4.39 trillion of the P4.5-trillion budget, the year is ending with billions still undisbursed and unutilized in various agencies,” Brosas said.
The validity of this year’s national budget was set to expire on December 31.