Senate, House to finalize 2021 budget in ‘hybrid’ bicam by Friday
MANILA, Philippines —Both the House of Representatives and the Senate are eyeing to finalize the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 by Friday this week, the chairman of the appropriations committee of the lower chamber said Monday.
House appropriations panel chair ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, in an online interview with reporters, said the two houses of Congress are scheduled to start bicameral deliberations on the budget bill.
“Ang sched namin tomorrow na siya mag-start and then target namin matapos sa Friday. Yun yung target namin. Pinakamatagal na po yung Monday next week matatapos,” he said.
(Our schedule is we will start tomorrow and then we aim to finish by Friday. That’s our target, I think the latest would be Monday next week.)
“Yung mga amendments po namin, magko-compare notes kami ng Senate,” he added.
(For the amendments, we will compare notes.)
Among the amendments to be pushed by the House contingent to the bicam is a P5-billion increase to the 2021 budget’s calamity fund in light of the damage wrought by recent typhoons.
“Titingnan namin bukas ‘yong version nila (Senate) at kung mga ano pa po ‘yong mga nag-double, ililipat natin sa mga tinamaan ng calamity tulad ng Marikina,” Yap said.
(We will take a look at their version and see if theirs would be double allocations, then we will just divert it to other areas also affected like Marikina.)
According to the appropriations chair, protocols will be followed in the conduct of the bicam deliberations.
“Hindi naman pwedeng 21 kami nasa isang kwatro so we have to do a hybrid, kailangang nasa Zoom,” he said.
(We can’t have 21 people in a room, so we will have to conduct a hybrid bicam, we need to make use of Zoom.)
“E baka ma-bash tayo tulad nung bashing kay Senator [Manny] Pacquiao at kay Secretary [Harry] Roque… ang liit lang naman po ng kwarto na makuha natin sa hotel so kailangan po talaga naka-hybrid po tayo.
(We may get bashed like what happened to Senator [Manny] Pacquiao at kay Secretary [Harry] Roque…we only got a small conference room in the hotel so we really need to conduct it in a hybrid manner.)
While Yap said they would be willing to release the results of the bicam, he opts not to open the entirety of the discussions, because it could cause delay in the process.
“We are willing to open the result or kung i-open namin kung ano ‘yong mga binago. [If] i-open natin habang nagbi-bicam ‘yong day to day, blow-by-blow, mukhang mahirapan lang tayo para sa akin… baka hindi po matapos kasi siyempre mamaya may magrereklamo… so mape-pressure na naman, magbabago na naman. ‘Yon po ‘yong nakikita kong problema,” Yap explained.
(We are willing to open the result, what we changed. If we open it during the bicam itself, day by day, blow by blow, it can be a challenge…we may never finish because there would be a possibility that someone will complain…we will be pressured to change, that’s the problem I’m seeing.)
“Pero kung gagawing transparent po ‘yong magiging result, we are very, very open po because the budget is for the Filipino people and karapatan po ng mga mamayan na makita ‘yong magiging result ng bicam,” he added.
(If we are talking about being transparent, we are very, very open because the budget is for the Filipino people. That is the right of the public, to know the result of the bicam.)
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