As the world continues its fight against the pandemic, the Philippines’ response is continued assistance to its citizens. The availability of the 2020 national budget and funds has been extended through RA 11519— An Act Extending the Availability of Appropriations under Republic Act 11494 otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act” and RA 11520— An Act Extending the Availability of the 2020 Appropriations to December 31, 2021, Amending for the Purpose section 60 of the General Provisions of Republic Act No. 11465 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2020. This means that the funds coming from the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act has been extended until June 30, 2021 under RA 11519, and the availability of the Php4.1-trillion 2020 national budget until December 31, 2021 under RA 11520.
“Sec. 60. Cash Budgeting System. All appropriations authorized in this Act, including budgetary support to GOCCs, shall be available for release and disbursement for the purpose specified, and under the same general and special provisions applicable thereto, until December 31, 2021. While the amount appropriated herein as financial assistance to LGUs released during the fiscal year shall be available for disbursement for the purpose specified until December 31, 2021. On the other hand, appropriations for the statutory shares of LGUs shall be available for obligations and disbursement until fully expended.
After the end of validity period, all unreleased appropriations shall lapse, while unexpended or undisbursed funds shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund in accordance with Section 28, Chapter 4, Book VI of E.O. No. 292 and shall not thereafter be available for expenditure except by subsequent legislative enactment. Departments, bureaus, and offices of the National Government, including constitutional offices enjoying fiscal autonomy, SUCs, and GOCCs, shall strictly observe the validity of appropriations and the reversion of funds.”
The continued availability of funds for the country coming from the previous year’s budget will be on top of the Php4.5 Trillion 2021 budget available for the government. This will address the continuous flow of the infrastructure projects of the government, and the continued response to address social issues such as COVID-19 response, joblessness, and hunger. The lawmakers have also ensured that the extension of the budgetary flow would be to address the delays in the government programs which were intended for the year 2020.
While this is a welcome development, it is imperative on the part of the government to do more. The Philippine economy continues to slump while our ASEAN neighbors are already recovering, as a matter of fact, some have even registered a growth output. The government must find a way in opening up the economy without sacrificing health protocols. We must throw our full support in the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs as it comprises more than 90% of our economy.