WHEN President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA), this brought tremendous joy to the government agencies especially Department of Education (DepEd) that comprises the bulk of its line items, many are for immediate implementation in order to meet the targets to sustain the gains of the K to 12 Curriculum.
Everyone was very much affected by the late signing of the 2019 GAA that resulted to the late implementation of programmed projects and expenditures to the detriment of the whole public.
Today, well-meaning and distinguished ladies and gentlemen of the two houses of congress and the hardworking personnel of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) headed by kababayan Wendel Avisado with the collaboration of all government agencies, the early signing of the 2020 GAA was realized abating another budget debacle that will happen if the opposite transpired.
Though the newly signed 2020 national budget amounting to P4.1 trillion passed without any veto from President Duterte, he imposed conditions on some spending items. In its own evaluation, the DBM said the 2020 budget has no vetoable provisions, but added that some items could be subject to conditional implementation to remain compliant with budget rules.
The P4.1-trillion national spending plan which is considered as the biggest national budget so far was earlier ratified by the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 12 wherein the signed version maintained the total amount approved by Congress.
The President, during his budget message right after the signing, maintained that he is duly bound to subject the following provisions to specific conditions prior to implementation, in order to faithfully comply with existing laws, policies, and rules and regulations, for the effective and efficient utilization of public funds.
For the DepEd, the items subject to conditions include the Last Miles Schools Program, assistance and subsidies provided by the DepEd and the DepEd’s quick response fund. It is hoped that the program owners and implementers of these big ticket programs and projects will be able to religiously follow the existing laws, policies and rules and regulations so that not only it will benefit the recipients but at the same time, the allocation would also be rationally utilized.
The effect of the late signing of 2019 GAA had already taken its toll on us. Good that the 2019 appropriations was extended for another year that prompted government people to still use it for what so called spillover projects. This should teach everyone a lesson not to calendar or do the expenditures on the last two months that will clearly affect the quality of the delivery of trainings/workshops and will just do them for compliance sake.
This Corner hopes that the prompt signing of the 2020 GAA serves as an inspiration especially to the leaders to become more servant and transformative leaders to positively influence their flocks and bring them where they belong.