House wants 2022 budget certified as ‘urgent’
The principal paladin of the people’s purse in the House of Representatives wants Malacañang to certify as “urgent” the government’s spending plan for 2022 so that the House can pass it by October.
“Once the committee report comes out, I will make a formal request for the budget to be certified as urgent, so that it will be up for third reading by Sept. 30,” said ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap, chair of the House appropriations committee.
If certified as urgent by the President, Congress can dispense with the required three-day gap between a bill’s approval on second and third reading.
Yap’s committee on Thursday ended its deliberations on House Bill No. 10153, or the 2022 budget bill that was filed on Sept. 7, after only two weeks of hearings, raising questions on the rush to pass the P5.024-trillion budget ahead of the May elections.
The proposed 2022 budget—the largest in Philippine history—is 11.5 percent higher than this year’s budget of P4.506 trillion, an increase of more than P518 billion.
But the national government admitted that it has not been able to spend even half of the amount that they asked for in this year’s budget, despite the ongoing pandemic that has already claimed more than 35,000 lives.
The House swiftly approved the increased fund requests of almost all agencies, including the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Public Works and Highways.
But the House did not include funds for aid to the poor, the transport sector or health- care workers, who recently complained that they had not even received the allowances the government promised last year.
Still, House leaders, including Yap and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, said the House should pass the national budget on third and final reading before Congress adjourns its sessions on Oct. 1.
He said members of the House would be busy preparing for the 2022 elections by then, and the House should pass the national budget on time to prevent a reenactment of this year’s budget.
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