Congress is eyeing the extension of two spending bills to continue funding of the government’s COVID-19 response programs: the 2020 budget until June or December 2021, and the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) until March or mid-2021.
This comes as final steps for passage of the 2021 national budget is in progress.
“The 2020 GAA (General Appropriations Act) has a lot of projects that were delayed because of the lockdown, of quarantine so additional time is needed,” Senate Committee on Finance chair Sen. Sonny Angara said.
“Regarding the [COVID-19] vaccine, ‘yung P8 billion [fund] nasa Bayanihan 2 so that expires on December 19. Kapag hindi natin in-extend ‘yung Bayanihan 2, magre-revert din ‘yung pera [back to the National Treasury],” he said.
[Regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, the P8 billion is lodged in the Bayanihan 2 so that expires on December 19. If we will not extend the Bayanihan 2, the fund will be reverted to the National Treasury.]
The law states that national budgets would expire at the end of every year, while emergency measures – like the Bayanihan 2 – would lose its validity once Congress adjourns session.
Once these spending laws expire, funds that were unspent have to be reverted to the National Treasury, and Congress would have to craft another law to authorize the executive branch to tap these funds for specific projects.