Duterte extends validity of 2020 nat'l budget, Bayanihan 2 to sustain COVID response

President Duterte has signed two laws extending the validity of the 2020 national budget as well as the Bayanihan 2 measure until this year to sustain government programs in addressing the pandemic and facilitating economic recovery.

President Rodrigo Duterte (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Republic Act No. 11520, signed by the President late last month, extended the availability of the remaining funds under the 2020 budget until December 31, 2021. Under the law, all appropriations, including budgetary support to government corporations, will be available for release and distribution for this year.

"After the end of the validity period, all unreleased appropriations shall lapse while unexpended or undisbursed funds shall revert to the unappropriated surplus of the General Fund," the law read.

The law also stated that agencies and government firms outsourcing requests or agreements with the Philippine International Trading Corporation (PITC) shall not be allowed. Any balances of fund transfers in the books of the PITC shall revert to the national treasury.

Republic Act No. 11519 also allowed the extension of the appropriations under RA 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act" until June 30, 2021. Any unspent government funds will also be reverted to the national treasury.

The Bayanihan 2 law provides for the COVID response and recovery interventions as well as mechanisms to accelerate economic recovery. The measure includes P140 billion in regular appropriations and P25.5 billion in standby funds.

The President had earlier certified the two measures as urgent, saying the extension of the validity would "ensure the continuous implementation of various government programs, projects, and activities for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and altering economic recovery."

If the two new laws were not passed, the 2020 national budget would have expired last Dec. 31, 2020, and the Bayanihan 2 on Dec. 19, 2020.