If there is budget reenactment or delay, it’s because of Senate, not House—Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines — Should there be a budget delay or reenactment, it would be because of the Senate and not the House, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Wednesday.
In a Facebook live, Cayetano once again clarified that the lower chamber will only be delayed for one day in its transmission of the House-approved proposed budget for 2021 to the Senate.
Instead of November 16, the House-approved proposed budget for 2021 will be sent to the Senate on November 17, said Cayetano.
“One day lang po ang diperensya and I hope that maging malinaw ito because kung magkakaroon po ng delay o reenactment, it will be because of the Senate not because of the House, because we are only talking about only one day,” Cayetano said.
“Kami one month po kami na-delay, naghintay, pero we made up the time. So I think one day shouldn’t make a difference,” the House Speaker added.
(It’s just one day difference and I hope that is clear because if there’s going to be delay or reenactment, it will be because of the Senate not because of the House, because we are only talking about only one day. We were delayed and we waited for one month, but we made up the time. So I think one day shouldn’t make a difference.)
Nonetheless, Cayetano apologized to the Senate for this one-day delay as this will still cause an “inconvenience” to the upper chamber but said the House will help in any way to fast track the approval of the budget, particularly in the bicameral conference committee.
“Two weeks ang bicam last year, so we can do it now na three days or four days. Mag-overtime tayo tutal COVID. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures,” Cayetano said.
(Last year’s bicam lasted two weeks, so we can do it now for three days or four days. Let’s go overtime since there’s COVID-19.)
To recall, during its Tuesday session, the House approved on second reading House Bill No. 7727 or the GAB which contains the proposed national budget for 2021.
While it was approved earlier than expected, this was immediately followed by the lower chamber’s suspension of session until November 16.
This means that the bill will not be approved on October 14 as initially planned.
Senator Panfilo Lacson said that with this sudden suspension of session in the House, the national budget for 2021 is already as “good as reenacted” because it would be “impossible” for Congress to pass the country’s spending bill on time.
“One thing we (senators) can assure, hindi namin mamadaliin to sacrifice ang pag-scrutinize namin. Maski anong magic gawin namin, siguradong reenacted na ‘yung budget eh. Hindi na talaga kayang i-approve kaya why not gamitin na lang ‘yung time talaga para nang sa ganon mapagaralan talaga ‘yung budget,” Lacson told reporters in an online interview.
(One thing we can assure is we won’t rush it to sacrifice our scrutiny of the proposed budget. Whatever magic we cast, I’m sure the budget will be re-enacted. It could not be approved on time so why not just take our time and really study the budget.)
But Cayetano expressed hopes that this would not be the case.
“Please po, let us not really come to conclusion na mare-reenact ang budget, hindi po, because there is only one day difference. There is a lot of politics and confusion going around and I think very sincere naman si Senator Ping and it is really just a kanyang pananaw kung paano yung budget process,” Cayetano said.
(Please, let’s not really come to the conclusion that the budget will be reenacted. It will not, because there is only one day difference. There is a lot of politics and confusion going around and I think Senator Ping is very sincere but we just have different views when it comes to the budget process.)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also said that the House should just adopt the Senate’s version of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill if it wants to speed up deliberations at the bicameral conference committee.
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