P5.024-trillion budget for 2022 reaches Senate plenary | Inquirer News

P5.024-trillion budget for 2022 reaches Senate plenary

/ 06:09 PM November 09, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022 has now reached the Senate floor, prompting days of lengthy plenary deliberations.

During Tuesday’s session, Senate finance panel chairman Sen. Sonny Angara endorsed for plenary approval Committee Report No. 332, which contains the 2022 General Appropriations Bill.

“It is really a health budget, at least from the point of view of the Senate version or the Senate committee report because those are really massive additions or movements in the budget,” Angara said in an interview with reporters before the session.


The Senate finance committee introduced amendments to the House version of the budget, which was transmitted to the upper chamber in October, to further boost the government’s pandemic response.


Booster shots

The Senate panel added P16.245 billion under the budget of the Department of Health (DOH) for the procurement of third doses or booster shots. This, on top of the P45.3-billion unprogrammed appropriations that was earlier proposed by the executive department to Congress.

Aside from additional funding for the vaccines, the committee also introduced allocations for the provision of benefits to healthcare workers.

Funds for COVID-19 testing and contact tracing were also added under the Senate version, according to Angara.

Under the Senate panel’s version of the 2022 budget, over P6 billion has also been set aside for the emergency hiring of human resources for health across the country.

The Epidemiology and Surveillance Program of the DOH will also “receive a boost in its budget” of nearly P2 billion “for the different surveillance units across the regions to better track if, where, and by how much the virus continues to spread,” said Angara.

For face-to-face classes

Angara also said that “over a billion” was added to the budget of state universities and colleges (SUCs) as well as public schools to help them in retrofitting their facilities for face-to-face classes.


“There are funds for the adjustments of our public schools and universities next year. We added over a billion…to [help them] retrofit their schools, to test their staff and to buy whatever they need to be safe for their students,” he added.


Funding for free COVID-19 testing for job seekers was also included in the Senate panel’s proposed 2022 budget, according to the senator.

Under the proposed 2022 budget, Angara’s panel also set aside a “significant amount” should there be a need to roll out large-scale social amelioration or cash subsidy programs “just as what we had experienced with the lockdowns in the past 20 months.”

“Such subsidy will at the very least amount to P2,500 a month for two months for families who have low or no incomes, homeless or street families, returning OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, families in conflict-affected communities, and other indigents,” the senator said.

Funds to assist affected sectors — like the micro, small and medium enterprises — as well as drivers who suffered from the recent fuel price hike were also included.

While the Senate panel prioritized addressing the country’s health needs amid the ongoing pandemic, Angara said his committee also gave fund increases to other sectors.

Among them are additional funding for the energy department; increased allocation for the National Academy for Sports in light of the country’s historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year; as well as augmented budgets for the Department of National Defense, which includes “significant increases” in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its different branches.

Funds to assist affected sectors, including drivers who suffered from the recent fuel price hike, were also included under the Senate’s version of the budget.

The committee report will face the scrutiny of senators on the floor and may be subject to changes. Angara said the bill could be approved on its third and final reading on Nov. 25.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Following the approval of the upper chamber, the Senate and the House of Representatives will then hold a bicameral conference committee to reconcile disagreeing provisions of their respective versions of the budget bill.

je /atm
TAGS: 2022 budget, Nation, News, Senate

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.