Bill allowing use of excess GOCC funds for 2023 budget OK’d

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

November 29, 2023, 7:16 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on the third and final reading a measure that would allow the government to tap the excess funds of government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) for unprogrammed appropriations in the 2023 budget.

During the plenary session, a total of 229 lawmakers voted in favor of House Bill 9513, which provides an additional criterion for availing the unprogrammed appropriations by amending Republic Act 11936 or the 2023 General Appropriations Act.

Four lawmakers voted against the measure, while two abstained.

The bill proposes that the funds of GOCCs determined to be more than their current administrative or operational expenses, benefit obligations, or reserve requirements may be used to implement the vital purposes under the unprogrammed appropriations.

The Department of Budget and Management defines unprogrammed appropriations as items "which provide standby authority to incur additional agency obligations for priority programs or projects when revenue collection exceed targets, and when additional grants or foreign funds are generated."

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, author of the bill, said the proposal would enable the national government to maximize the GOCC's "idle" funds.

"It is an accepted fact that certain government corporations have funds far exceeding their current administrative and operational expenses, benefit obligations, and/or reserve requirements. These funds lie idle in the banks or are invested in time deposits and other securities with other government and non-government financial institutions and results in the inefficient use of national government resources," Salceda said.

He further noted that these government corporations could readily provide the necessary funds to assist the national government's requirements and fund "much-needed" unprogrammed projects.

The current law provides that the unprogrammed appropriations are funded using excess revenue collections in any non-tax revenue sources from its corresponding revenue collection target as reflected in the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing (BESF); new revenue collection or those arising from new tax or non-tax sources that are not included in the original revenue sources in the BESF; or approved loans for foreign-assisted projects. (PNA)