House to vote on final approval of 2021 budget bill on Nov. 16 – Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will vote on the final approval of the proposed national budget for 2021 when it resumes its session on Nov. 16, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Tuesday.
Cayetano made the announcement after the House approved on second reading the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (House Bill No. 7727 ).
The House was supposed to have approved the bill on second reading last Friday, Oct. 9, and was originally set to approve it on final reading on Oct. 14.
However, after approving the bill on second reading on Tuesday, the House suspended its session until Nov. 16.
“What will happens is that we will be working. We will not be taking a break, and on November 16, we will be voting on third reading,” Cayetano said, speaking partly in Filipino, on Facebook Live.
“Before that, there was already consent from the majority ng congressmen because I will show them the budget one by one. And that’s how I was able to promise the Filipino people that would be very transparent,” he added.
In effect, Cayetano said there would be a one-day delay in the transmission of the approved budget from the House to the Senate.
“I’m asking for the understanding of our beloved Senate President and of the whole Senate,” Cayetano said.
“We here in the House waited one month because the executive, the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] were one month late in submitting — instead of July, during the SONA [State of the Nation Address], although they are allowed by the law until the end of August. Let’s understand: It was not the fault of the executive that there’s COVID,” he added.
Cayetano likewise said that the lower chamber would be open to working with the Senate during the break to lessen contentious provisions in the budget and to ease the bicameral conference committee deliberations.
“If the Senate wants to work with us during the break so that the bicam will be less contentious, we’re more than happy to work with you already during the break. I’ve talked already to several senators and they agree with me that although one day is substantial. It is still not a reason for [the bill] not to be passed,” Cayetano said.
Meanwhile, Cayetano also urged Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, with whom he has a term-sharing agreement, to join discussions regarding the budget.
“Congressman Velasco, you are free to campaign, you are free to defame [“manira”], you are free to be absent, you are free to be present. Once you have the numbers, don’t worry, I will step aside. But saying you have the numbers and having the numbers are two different things,” Cayetano said.
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