Senate ratifies proposed national budget for 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate ratified Wednesday the proposed national budget for 2021, which is expected to drive the country’s pandemic response and recovery efforts.
Senator Sonny Angara, who chairs the Senate committee on finance, said the bicameral conference committee focused on responding to the pandemic and calamities, especially following the recent series of typhoons that ravaged the country.
According to data provided by the office of Senate finance committee headed by Angara, the education sector will receive P708.181 billion should President Rodrigo Duterte sign the bicam-approved version of the 2021 budget.
This was followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways and the health sector.
Angara said at least P72 billion is allocated to procure COVID-19 vaccine while House appropriations committee chair Eric Yap said around P23 billion is set aside for the government’s rehabilitation efforts following Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe, who serves as the vice chairperson of the Senate finance committee and a member of the bicam, said that the budget passed is “timely, targeted and laser-focused on our people who are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“It seeks to respond to real needs for better health protection, equal access to quality education, efficient transportation and infrastructure and inclusive social protection,” Poe said.
“Receiving much-needed appropriation is the cash-for-work program for our displaced workers and OFWs. As our greatest human resources, the Filipino workers will fuel the revival of the economy,” she added.
Further, Poe said funds are also allocated to set up the National Broadband Infrastructure to improve the country’s internet services.
The Senate approved its version of the budget bill on November 26, with the bicameral conference committee kicking off discussions on December 1.
The bicam, which conducted a series of “hybrid” meetings in observance of health and safety protocols, aimed to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the budget bill.
Subsequently, the bicam approved the final version of the proposed 2021 national budget on Wednesday, December 9.
For the national budget to be submitted to the President’s Office for approval, the bicam version of the budget bill has to be ratified first by both the Senate and the House.
House appropriations chair Eric Yap earlier said the target was to transmit the 2021 budget bill to Malacañang for the President’s signature by December 18 or December 21, at the latest. [ac]
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