Here lies the advantage of a veteran and sincere national legislator over those new ones who are still learning the ropes in lawmaking.
We mean, a veteran congressman who knows what happens to the unexpended budget at the end of the year that it is appropriated for.
The congressman we are referring to is Davao City’s third district representative Isidro “Sid” Ungab who now is the chair of the very powerful Appropriations Committee in the House of Representatives. Ungab is just starting his first year in his comeback as legislator after a one 3-year term respite as mandated by the constitution. The chairmanship of the Appropriations body of the House is a position salivated by so many lawmakers including those ambitious among the green horns.
The Davao third district lawmaker is teaming up with former senator and now Antique congresswoman Loren Legarda in pushing for the passage of a resolution seeking to extend the validity of funds provided in the 2019 budget. The funds are for Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) and capital outlays or COs.
Ungab agrees with Legarda that the delay in the passage of the 2019 General Appropriations Act caused the non-implementation and/or completion of several projects and programs that should have been the vehicles for the delivery of basic services to the people.
Yes, the delay in the passage of the 2019 national budget, plus the election ban had resulted to a domino effect insofar as the delivery of the various social projects is concerned.
Congressman Ungab was quick to affirm Legarda’s claim that huge appropriations were not released and allotments were issued. Unfortunately, because of the lack of material time these allotments have not been obligated.
As a consequence, the funds intended for the implementation of a good number of programs and projects for 2019, including the MOOEs for some government agencies would end up automatically reverted and become part of the government’s unappropriated surplus. And that will happen by December 31, 2019 which barely less than four months away.
Imagine how many would stand to benefit from the money that would be retained to fund completion of the various government programs and projects once the appropriation’s validity is extended?
We are dead certain that priority projects will be pursued; medical assistance can be augmented in far-flung barangays. And surely schools that have shown the weight of time would be repaired and/or maintained accordingly.
People will surely not fear that roads and bridges, hospitals and dispensaries will be left to the vagaries of time just because of the close of a particular year, and time will not anymore allow maintenance jobs on such infrastructure.
But of course, to see this kind of possibility is not certain for everyone even inside the legislative body.
Good thing that we have some few good men in that august body that have the ability to discern even an apparently “harmless” although tricky provisions in certain laws that even if unknowingly missed out could derail operation of the government.
The third district congressman’s constituents have every reason to be proud that they have elected such kind of representation in Congress. They can rest with certainty that their man in Congress stands for them and for every Filipino.
Carry on Cong Sid. You are now laying the framework of what could be your legacy for the next generation of young and idealistic lawmakers.