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House OKs one-year extension of 2021 budget

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star
House OKs one-year extension of 2021 budget
Congressmen decided to pass on second reading House Bill No. 10373, which seeks to extend the availability of the 2021 national appropriations from Dec. 31, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022.
STAR / Boy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives yesterday approved the measure that would extend the validity of this year’s P4.5-trillion national budget for one year.

Congressmen decided to pass on second reading House Bill No. 10373, which seeks to extend the availability of the 2021 national appropriations from Dec. 31, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2022.

The bill, authored by appropriations committee chair Eric Yap, specifically proposes to amend Section 62 of General Provisions of Republic Act 11518 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2021.

Yap explained that the measure is necessary “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.”

The ACT-CIS party-list and Benguet caretaker congressman lamented that there are programs, projects and activities under the current national budget that are very much needed by the Filipino people, especially those in the most vulnerable sector, but which might not be completed by yearend.

The House official stressed that the 2021 national budget is not only focused on the priority programs of President Duterte, but also on guaranteeing a strong response against the pandemic.

During the discussion, Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza expressed his concern on the language of the bill and recommended the inclusion of a certain provision that would safeguard those ongoing government projects whose funding were already obligated but were not disbursed.

“The various provisions in the GAA severely punishes certain areas like my area, because of typhoons and pandemic issues. So now, whether obligated or not, if funds are undisbursed, it reverts back to the treasury,” he argued.

With its approval in the committee level, HB 10373 will now be submitted to the plenary for deliberation and approval.

NATIONAL BUDGET
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