House suspends budget deliberations until Friday, Oct. 2
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives has suspended the plenary deliberations for the proposed national budget for 2021 until Friday, October 2.
Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor made the motion to suspend the budget deliberations Wednesday, saying that it would give the lower chamber time to address the lawmakers’ concerns regarding funding for various government programs.
For his part, Defensor cited the proposed funding of the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) of the Department of Health (DOH).
“Yung HFEP, hanggang sa ngayon hindi ko nakikita ‘yung pagbabago na kung saan yung pagbibigay nila ng P100,000 bawat munisipyo, barangay, sinasabi kong hindi tama at ang kailangang ayusin ay ‘yung mga ospital sa ating distrito,” Defensor said.
“Hindi naman ito para pigilan o hindi kaya’y isabotahe ang isinasagawang pagtatapos ng committee on appropriations, bagkus I would think na sana makatulong din na itong paghinto at pag-aayos natin sa budget, mabigyan tayo ng panahon na itama,” he added.
While Deputy Speaker for Finance Luis Raymund Villafuerte backed the motion of Defensor, he underscored that the main priority of the House remains to be the swift passage of the 2021 budget despite recent issues hounding the lower chamber such as the speakership row between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“Gusto ko lang i-emphasize, people first, politics later ang data gawin ng ating mga kasamahan sa Kongreso,” Villafuerte said.
“While we are trying to pass this at the soonest possible time, I share the sentiment of Congressman Mike Defensor that there should be further deliberations in some departments, there’s still a due process, transparency,” he added.
Villafuerte also insisted Congress’ power of the purse, as he took a swipe at Velasco who allegedly vowed to pass the National Expenditure Program (NEP) without any realignments or changes.
“Dapat Hindi mawalan ng power of the purse ang ating institution by just passing the budget as it is sa NEP ay lumalabas ay wala na tayong otoridad, power, prerogative to full scrutinize and give a suggestion,” Villafuerte said.
“Dapat talaga lalo nating usisain ang budget, sa PhilHealth may budget na over P70 billion despite the anomalies surrounding Philhealth, dapat along usisain ng ating institusyon kung bakit ba natin kailangan ng gangtong amount,” he added.
The said motion was approved meaning there won’t be any plenary debates on the proposed 2021 budget until Friday morning. [ac]
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.