Makabayan bloc calls for resumption of budget deliberations
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc are calling for the resumption of budget deliberations so that the issues on health, education, and jobs can be prioritized.
The lawmakers hit the abrupt termination of the 2021 budget deliberations and its approval on second reading, pointing out that there were several departments and agencies whose budgets have not been tackled yet, not even at the committee level.
These include the budget of the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Department of Education.
“Those trying to block the budget deliberations are obviously the ones who will stand to gain, disregarding the people’s call for a national budget more attuned to the Filipino people’s current need during this time of the COVID pandemic,” the Makabayan lawmakers said in a statement.
“These should have been discussed and debated on but now are all in limbo because of the abrupt termination of proceedings and premature suspension of the House session,” they added.
They added that the budget deliberations should be open to the public and on the record “for the sake of transparency and prosperity.”
The lawmakers maintained that the premature termination of the budget deliberations and limiting the work to a small committee “violates the mandate of the Constitution and the public’s trust.”
“We call on the House leadership to immediately resume the suspended plenary session, reconsider the approval on second reading, and continue the public deliberations on the General Appropriations Bill,” they added.
“We in the Makabayan bloc, as independent fiscalizers of the administration, take this job very seriously. We will continue to scrutinize the budget and fight for the calls of the Filipino people,” they added.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives terminated the budget deliberations on the 2021 budget bill, upon the motion of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and approved it on second reading.
The House likewise suspended the session until Nov. 16.
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