House panel approves extension of 2021 GAA availability, other bills requiring funding

Published November 19, 2021, 10:56 AM

by Manila Bulletin

The House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved House Bill 10373 which seeks to extend the availability of the 2021 appropriations until Dec. 31, 2022.

The House measure, authored by ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Go, will amend Section 62 of the General Provisions of Republic Act 11518 or the General Appropriations Act of Fiscal Year 2021.

During the deliberation on Wednesday, Nov. 17, Northern Samar Rep. Paul Daza recommended that HB 10373 must have a provision that will safeguard ongoing government projects with funding which were already obligated but were not disbursed.

“The various provisions in the GAA severely punish 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,” Daza said.

The committee also approved the funding provisions of two priority measures submitted by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

These are the substitute bill to HB 3031, which seeks to establish the Philippine Downstream Natural Gas Industry, and the substitute bill to different House measures establishing the National Center for Geriatric Health and Research Institute and regional geriatric specialty centers in all government health facilities.

The panel also approved the following measures with amendments namely the substitute bill to HBs 269 and 6857 which establishes standard modern apex hospitals in every region; the substitute bill to HB 9157 which seeks to rename the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) to National Literacy Council; the substitute bill to HB 8210 which requires the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to establish a tripartite council that will address the country’s job-skills mismatch; the substitute bill to measures seeking to institutionalize bicycle use, defining bicycle riders’ rights, as well as establishing appropriate infrastructure and facilities; the substitute bill on measures providing benefits to octogenarian and nonagenarian Filipinos; the substitute bill to measures giving honoraria, allowances, and other privileges to Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) officials; the substitute bill to measures that establish the Magna Carta of Barangay Health Workers; and the substitute bill to HBs 5687 and 7778 which seeks to establish the Autonomous Region of the Cordillera.

The substitute bill to HB 8137, on the other hand, was approved without amendments in its fund allocation provisions. The said measure aims to expand the coverage of the tertiary education subsidy.

The committee also approved, but subject to style changes, the substitute bill to different measures that seek to strengthen policies on anti-human trafficking. It will also revise RA 9028 or the “Anti-trafficking Act of 2003,” as amended by RA 10364 or the “Expanded Anti-trafficking Act of 2012.” (Melvin Sarangay)