Cayetano orders House leaders to work with Palace on 2021 budget
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has instructed two members of the lower chamber to work with the Palace in crafting the national budget for 2021.
Following the order, Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte and Rep. Eric Yap, who chairs the appropriations committee, met with Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado on Wednesday to discuss the budget.
Cayetano earlier said that the House and the DBM were considering a smoother process for the preparation and approval of the annual national budget by having the legislative and executive departments work closely together.
“That is what we want to do and that is what Budget Secretary Avisado wants to do: Even before the President submits the budget to Congress, there is consultation with the proper committees of both the House and the Senate, instead of them preparing it and the House revising it and the Senate doing its own revision,” Cayetano was quoted as saying in a statement.
In December 2019, the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) endorsed a budget of P4.6 trillion for 2021, a P500 billion increase from the 2020 budget.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, House committee ways and means chairman, proposed “an increase in the budget of 5-6 percent, instead of DBCC’s 10-11 percent.”
Salceda explained that the Department of Finance (DOF) was expecting lower revenue collections this year as many businesses suspended their operations to comply with the protocols of the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
Villafuerte disagreed, however, with this proposal, saying that the House could adopt the P4.6-trillion DBCC proposal and that the expected bigger shortfall could be filled with more borrowings.
“We are in a good fiscal position. We can borrow money. We are bankable. I think we can stick to that budget based on a reprioritization,” Villafuerte said.
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