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House passes proposed P5.024 trillion national budget for 2022

/ 10:55 PM September 30, 2021
House passes proposed P5.024 trillion nat'l budget for 2022

Batasang Pambansa. (File photo from Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022 was approved by the House of Representatives on Thursday, but some lawmakers argued the passage was railroaded as debates only took eight days in the plenary floor.

With 238 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes and no abstention, the lower chamber passed on final reading House Bill No. 10153 or the 2022 General Appropriations Bill which seeks to “fortify the four main fronts of the pandemic battle strategy: health and nutrition, social protection, governance, and development.”

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What’s in the proposed 2022 budget?

It is important to note, however, that the approved 2022 budget in the House is still subject to amendments as lawmakers can still submit their proposed changes even as the national expenditure bill is already approved.

This has been the budget process being followed in the House, even in previous years.

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But so far, according to the currently approved version of the proposed 2022 national expenditure plan, the education sector has the highest budget with P773.6 billion. This covers the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Under the proposed 2022 national expenditure plan, the education sector has the highest budget with P773.6 billion. This covers the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) followed with an allocation of P686.1 billion, then the Department of the Interior and Local Government (P250.4 billion), the Department of Health (P242 billion), the Department of National Defense (P222 billion), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (P191.4 billion), and the Department of Transportation (P110.9 billion).

In terms of pandemic response, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III earlier said his agency originally proposed a budget of P73.99 billion for COVID-19 response next year but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only approved P19.68 billion.

READ: Duque: DBM only approved P19.68B out of P73.99B DOH-proposed budget for 2022 COVID response

The proposed 2022 national budget was approved on the second and third reading in the House after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the measure as urgent.

The certification allows the House to expedite the budget’s passage without waiting for three days between second and third reading approval.

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Speaker Lord Allan Velasco earlier said the House is eyeing to pass the measure before the scheduled Congress break on October 1.

The proposed budget will be transmitted to the Senate for further deliberations and amendments.

Amendments still underway

Budget approval in the House follows a different process compared to other measures as the national expenditure plan was passed even as the proposed amendments have not been finalized yet.

A small committee was created “to receive and resolve the individual amendments” passed by lawmakers. Members of the House can submit their proposed amendments to the committee until October 5.

The committee is composed of House appropriations chair Eric Yap, ways and means committee chair Joey Salceda, and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to represent the majority bloc.

Meanwhile, Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo will represent the minority bloc and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman for the independent bloc.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago objected the creation of the panel, saying that the collation and approval of the proposed amendments should be done publicly instead.

 ‘Railroaded’

The six members of the House’s Makabayan bloc voted against the proposed 2022 national budget, with some arguing that the passage was “railroaded.”

“Wala pang apat na weeks nating tinalakay ang badyet na ito. Delayed na ng isang buwan ang pagsusumite ng DBCC (Development Budget Coordination Committee) sa Kongreso, niratsada pa ito,” ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro said.

Further, Castro pointed out that the proposed 2022 budget does not respond to the needs of the public in the health and education sector. She likewise lamented the budget cuts suffered by several programs under the Department of Education (DepEd).

“Kapos na kapos ang pinanukala ng administrasyon para sa mga rekisito para sa ligtas na balik-paaralan at sa proteksyon, benepisyo ng mga guro at education support personnel,” Castro said.

Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas, meanwhile, said that the proposed 2022 budget “seeks to spend P385.78 billion as ‘presidential pork’” which includes the P30.46 billion budget of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“The P30.46 billion budget for NTF-ELCAC could’ve been enough to provide P10,000 cash aid to 3 million  families who have been affected by the pandemic and series of typhoons,” Brosas said.

“Kaya rin nitong pondohan ang paid pandemic leave para sa mga libu-libong manggagawang nagkakasakit o di kaya’y no work, no pay,” she added.

KGA / gsg

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TAGS: 2022 national budget, House Bill No.10153, House of Representatives, P5.024 trillion
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