House to ask Duterte to certify proposed 2022 budget as urgent — Yap
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives will ask the Executive to consider certifying as urgent the general appropriations bill, which will be crafted by lawmakers once the P5.024 trillion proposed national budget for 2022 has been scrutinized.
In a press briefing on Monday after the budget was transmitted to Congress, House appropriations committee chairperson and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap said that he and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco would talk to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea about the possibility of certifying the said bill as urgent.
Once President Rodrigo Duterte makes the certification, it would take a shorter time for the House to pass the general appropriations bill before it is sent out to the Senate.
“Sa Thursday po, meron kaming meeting ni ES with Speaker para i-justify lang namin kung bakit kailangan i-certify as urgent and ‘yong mga needs kung bakit,” Yap told reporters.
(On Thursday, we will have a meeting with the Executive Secretary and the Speaker to justify why there is a need to certify the bill as urgent.)
“Kasi kung titignan niyo, talagang sobrang igsi […] ito na ‘yong pinaka-malaking budget sa history ng Pilipinas pero ito rin ‘yong pinaka-maigsing araw na pwede lang kaming magdeliberate at pakinggan ‘yong mga kasamahan natin sa Kongreso, so kailangan talaga i-certified as urgent itong budget na ito,” he added.
(Because if you would take a look at it, we only have a short time to deliberate the biggest budget in the country’s history. We only have a few days to deliberate and hear out our colleagues in Congress, that’s why we really need to certify this budget as urgent.)
According to Yap, they are looking to allot two weeks only for committee hearings, as they prefer passing it on second and third reading by September 30, or before the House takes a session break in October.
“Ang target namin talaga kasi talaga matapos siya ng September 30, second and final reading na po. Kasi October 1, naka-session break na po kami and then November first week na ang balik ng session,” Yap said.
(Our target is to finish it by September 30, second and final reading, because you will have a session break by October 1 and our session will resume in November.)
“So dapat one week before the start of November session, dapat nabigyan na namin ng copy ng GAB ang Senate para makapag-start na sila mag-review bago pa man mag-session,” he added.
(So we should have given a copy of the GAB to the Senate a week before the start of the November session so that they can start reviewing before we are in session.)
Earlier, both Velasco and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) confirmed that the proposed 2022 budget was officially transmitted to Congress.
DBM said in a briefer about the budget that a huge portion of the budget would be allocated to social services, amounting to P1.922 trillion or 38.3 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Economic services would get P1.474 trillion or 29.3 percent of the GDP.
Yap said that he would also ask lawmakers who have parochial concerns about the budget — or questions particularly related to the district or sector they represent — to forward their questions to the vice chairpersons of the appropriations committee so that they could be answered outside of committee hearings or the plenary.
This is to speed up discussions, as several concerns are expected to be raised during the deliberations considering that the proposed budget contains the government’s plan in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Mamayang 1:00 p.m. po, may meeting kami ng mga vice chair ng mga agencies […] ‘yong mga assignments nila. So doon pag-uusapan namin na kailangan kausapin nila ‘yong mga members ng hawak nilang agencies,” Yap said.
(Later at 1:00 p.m., we will have a meeting with the vice chair of assigned agencies. There, we would talk about what we would need to communicate with our members.)
“Let’s say ‘yong vice chair ng DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), kausapin niya na ‘yong mga members na may parochial concerns doon upang before pa lang ng budget deliberations eh ma-address na po or even after na po. Gano’n rin po ‘yong ginawa namin last year, ‘yong mga parochial concerns ay tinatawag po namin at sinasabi namin sa mga secretaries,” he added.
(Let’s say that the vice chair for DSWD, he or she would already talk to the members with parochial concerns so that even before the budget deliberations these can already be addressed. That’s what we did a year ago, the parochial concerns have been brought up to cabinet secretaries.)
Still, he maintained that parochial questions are important as they are relevant to the job of the lawmakers.
“Hindi rin po talaga maiiwasan na kahit na masabi na eh talagang ilalabas pa po nila ‘yan sa plenary or sa committee level, kasi po makikita natin talaga ang congressman importante po ‘yong distrito nila,” Yap noted.
(We can’t really avoid that even if the parochial concerns have been attended to, lawmakers would still bring it out on the plenary or committee level, because that’s where we see that the congressman’s district is important for them.)
“Kaya ‘yong mga gano’ng tanong ay welcome po, but we have to set the time limit para talagang umabot po talaga tayo,” he said.
(These questions are very welcome, but we have to set the time limit so that we could beat the time limit.)
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