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Co-Sponsorship Speech: Joint Resolution Extending the Availability of the 2019 Appropriations for MOOE and CO to December 31, 2020

September 25, 2019

Co Sponsorship of Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda

On Committee Report No. 30

House Joint Resolution No. 19: Extending the Availability of the 2019 Appropriations for Maintenance And Other Operating Expenses and Capital Outlay to December 31, 2020

25 September 2019 | Plenary Hall

 

Mr. Speaker,

 

I wish to thank the House Committee on Appropriations for taking the time to consider House Joint Resolution No. 9, which seeks to extend the availability of the 2019 appropriations for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and Capital Outlay (CO) to December 31, 2020.

 

We introduce this amendment of Section 65 of the General Provisions of Republic Act No. 11260, the General Appropriations Act of 2019, to respond to the needs of our people.

 

Government agencies have become accustomed to the slow pace of the budget cycle, despite efforts to speed up the implementation of government programs and projects. For this current fiscal year, this perennial problem was compounded by two circumstances: the delayed enactment of the budget in April, and the election period held in the first part of the year, which prohibited the implementation of infrastructure projects for the duration of the period.

 

While government agencies are expected to have their respective “catch up” plans with regard to the delivery of goods and services, the available data indicates that for the first half of the year, only 41.5% of the total allotment of the national government agencies have been obligated, and only 60.4% of this have been disbursed. Of the total annual appropriations, 44.9% have been obligated and 72.6% of this have been disbursed.

 

There are still appropriations that have not been released and allotment issued that have not been obligated, which will revert to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund after December 31, 2019. However, we are still in need of funds for priority projects as well as for aid and relief activities, and maintenance, construction/repair and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and other essential facilities of the national government.

 

The onslaught of several devastating calamities, the dengue outbreak affecting several provinces, the African swine flu that is now plaguing the market, as well as the effects of the southwest monsoons, are only some of the critical problems that we need to immediately address.

 

We do acknowledge that we still have this last quarter of the year for the government agencies to still try and implement whatever programs and projects they can. However, I believe that it would be more prudent to push for the extension of availability of funds for the benefit and welfare of our people, instead of risking it which may eventually lead to funds being reverted to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund.

 

Mr. Speaker, Congress passed Joint Resolutions of the same nature in previous years. This has been done in 2002, 2013 and also last year.

 

I therefore seek the support of our colleagues for the approval of this measure.

 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.