Philippines: 2019 budget extended until end of 2020

  • The House of Representatives on 25 Sep 19 approved on second reading a joint resolution extending the life of the 2019 budget by one more year, even as lawmakers censured Sen. Panfilo Lacson for claiming they had planned to insert pork allocations into the proposed PHP4.1tr 2020 national budget.
  • The joint resolution sought to prolong the availability of the current PHP3.7tr budget for capital outlays, maintenance and other operating expenses until 31 Dec 20.
  • The proponents said they wished to avoid a scenario in which unreleased appropriations automatically revert to the national treasury as surplus or savings once the validity of the budget lapses by end of 2019.
  • In 1H19, only 41.5% of the total allotment of the national government agencies had been obligated, and only 60.4% of this had been disbursed, according to Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, author of the first resolution.
  • Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the ways and means committee, cited three factors that necessitated the extension: the delayed approval of the 2019 budget, the onset of the election ban on spending for the May 19 elections, and restrictions imposed by cash-based budgeting.
  • The House approved the budget measure on final reading on 27 Sep 19, but gave itself a window of time to accept individual and institutional amendments by the members.
  • Responding to Lacson’s allegations, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab insisted that all House amendments to the 2020 budget measure were devoid of “pork” for any individual legislator.
  • Lacson earlier claimed that House leaders had dangled PHP1.5bn in additional funding for each of the 22 deputy speakers, and PHP700mn for each representative.

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