THE Senate on Monday approved a joint resolution extending the availability of the 2018 appropriations for the government’s maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays (CO) until the end of 2019.
Senate Joint Resolution No. 17 was filed by Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on finance, on Nov. 26, the same day its counterpart version in the House of Representatives was approved.
The joint resolution amends Section 61 of the Republic Act No. 10964 or the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA) to allow the validity of the MOOE and CO appropriations for another fiscal year or until Dec. 31, 2019.
The 2018 GAA limited the release of the MOOE and CO funds to within the year. If unspent, the funds will automatically be returned to the General Fund.
The joint resolution states that some of the 2018 MOOE and CO appropriations have not yet been released and obligated with only a month before the end of the year. It noted that this was not the case with the GAA from 2014 to 2017, which allowed for the said funds to be released and obligated for a two-year period.
Under the joint resolution, the unexpended appropriations may be used to fund relief and rehabilitation projects in several regions in Luzon and Mindanao, which were recently devastated by typhoons and flooding incidents.
It could also be used to fund priority projects as well as “the maintenance, construction and rehabilitation of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges, and other essential facilities of the national government,” the document added.
Congress has made the same plea through passing joint resolutions back in 2002 and 2013 seeking to extend the availability of the appropriations for another year. — Camille A. Aguinaldo