Lawmaker rues timing of Avisado's leave as budget deliberations approach | Inquirer News
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Lawmaker rues timing of Avisado’s leave as budget deliberations approach

/ 12:04 PM August 02, 2021
budget secretary wendel avisado

Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado (MALACAÑANG FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — The medical leave taken by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Wendel Avisado “cannot be at a worse time” as the deliberations for the 2022 national budget of a pandemic-stricken Philippines loom, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said Monday.

Zarate said Avisado’s medical leave timing is “truly lamentable” as the National Capital Region Plus (NCR Plus) area prepares for another lockdown, underscoring the need for another financial assistance program from the government.

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“Just the other day Secretary Avisado said that he was still trying to find funds for the much-needed ayuda and awaited only a clear directive from President Duterte. Was he able to find the budget to help our people before the ECQ is implemented?” Zarate said in a statement.

“Also, Congress still awaits the executive’s budget proposal for 2022 from the DBM. Is it done already? There is a need to immediately tackle the budget as we are still in the middle of a raging, surging pandemic; we must all act with urgency,” he added.

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Avisado is on medical leave from August 2 to 13 on the advice of his doctor, Malacañang said Saturday.

DBM said Avisado was afflicted with COVID-19, was hospitalized for eight days and went under quarantine for “over a month.”

The DBM added that Avisado’s doctor advised him to undergo a series of examinations since it has been 14 years since the budget chief underwent a quadruple open heart bypass.

‘Still on track’

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee chairperson Eric Yap believes that the budget deliberations is “right on track” even with Avisado’s leave.

“Secretary Wendel is always one call away. I think the budget deliberations is right on track,” Yap said in a text message.

The DBM submits its budget proposal to the House of Representatives before it is deliberated and amended then submitted to the Senate for further discussions and adjustments.

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