Villafuerte: House ready to take responsibility if budget bill OK gets delayed
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is ready to take responsibility if the approval of the 2021 national budget gets delayed, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. said Thursday.
However, the Senate should also do its part and make sure that the budget approval will not be delayed, he added.
“Kapag na-delay, we’ll take full responsibility. If it’s delayed. But the Senate should also do their part in making sure it’s not delayed,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
Villafuerte said the budget can still be passed before December if the Senate will continue to deliberate on it during the break.
Congress is set to have a congressional recess from Oct. 16 to Nov. 15, but the House suspended session on Wednesday after approving the budget bill on second reading.
The House will only be then able to approve the budget on the third and final reading once it resumes session on Nov. 16. Only after the final reading approval in the House that the budget measure could be transmitted to the Senate.
Villafuerte also said it’s “unfair” to blame the House for any delay on the approval of the 2021 national budget, apparently reacting to Senate President Vicente Sotto III’s statement that the lower chamber has delayed the budget for one whole month.
“For them to blame the House is unfair. In the past, the Senate passed the budget in seven to eight days. They can continue deliberating on it during the break,” the congressman said.
“If they want to pass the budget, they should continue deliberating on the budget even if we are on recess and once they receive it they can already have a committee report. ‘Yung schedule nila, we can both work on it,” he added.
Villafuerte said they can already transmit the House-approved budget by Nov. 16 or 17 and the Senate will have two weeks before December to approve it.
He added that the Senate, in the past, was able to pass the budget before December even if it was transmitted to them in November.
He also noted that the Department of Budget and Management transmitted the budget to the House in August, a month late from the supposed July schedule.