Senate extends validity of 2021 budget until December next year | Inquirer News
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Senate extends validity of 2021 budget until December next year

/ 03:15 PM December 13, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading a bill extending the validity of the 2021 budget or the General Appropriations Act.

Voting 22-0, senators passed House Bill No. 10373, which the House of Representatives approved last month.

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If enacted into law, the government would avoid having its unused funds returned back to the National Treasury.

Under the current cash-based budgeting system, all funds that are not obligated by the end of the year or December 31, 2021, would have to revert to the government’s coffers.

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Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee, said extending the validity of the 2021 budget would be crucial in the government’s recovery efforts, noting the possibility of the COVID-19 pandemic persisting throughout next year in light of the threat posed by the new emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant named Omicron.

“The approval of the measure will allow the government to provide more social services and implement more projects for the benefit of more of our countrymen, and to a certain extent, provide some stimulus for jumpstarting our economic recovery,” Angara said in a statement.

According to Angara, the extension of the 2021 budget’s validity would allow 2.5 million more indigent patients to benefit from government assistance since a significant portion of the budget under Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients has yet to be obligated.

With the Omicron variant threatening to reach the Philippines, the Department of the Interior and Local Government would also be given enough leeway to use unobligated appropriations to hire up to 8,000 more contact tracers for one month, Angara added.

Further, the government may help boost the country’s economic recovery by ramping up its spending, particularly in infrastructure, as the private sector reels from the effects of the pandemic, the senator also said.

je/KGA

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TAGS: 2021 budget, Nation, News, Senate, Sonny Angara
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