Congress gets back to work and pledges to ratify budget


Congress resumes today to prioritize the ratification of the national budget of 5.024 billion pesos for 2022. “Our commitment is to ensure that the budget bill, which aims to put the Philippines back on the way of a full recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, reaches the office of President (Rodrigo) Duterte before the end of the year, ”said President Allan Lord Velasco. He said the Senate has also pledged not to have a replenished budget for 2022. “We are pleased that the Senate is on the same wavelength as the House when it comes to the national budget,” a- he declared. On September 30, the House of Representatives adopted on third and final reading the budget bill of 5.024 billion pesos for 2022 and forwarded the bill to the Senate on October 25. “As soon as the Senate is finished with its own version of the budget, the House will select the contingent on the bicameral conference committee to help reconcile the two versions,” said the Speaker of the House. Velasco said Congress would also pass the proposals to suspend or reduce excise taxes on petroleum products. Congress would like to know why the prices of petroleum products have continued to rise in just a few weeks, he said. “As we prepare for a wider reopening of businesses, we must ensure that our economic recovery is not hampered by unwanted disruptions, such as the unhindered sharp rise in the cost of fuel,” he said. . Meanwhile, he said the online pass system will be implemented as part of health and safety protocols starting today. All House personnel must present the QR code generated by the system before being allowed to enter the premises of the House. Senate Speaker Vicente Sotto III said on Sunday he could call a caucus today or Tuesday with the 2021 national budget on the agenda as Congress resumes today.

“Maybe we’ll call a caucus on Monday or Tuesday as there are only a few weeks left for us to thoroughly clarify the budget timeline,” Sotto said in an interview with dwIZ radio. He said budget hearings will take place Monday through Thursday. They can also have them on Friday if needed. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said they are working to include the Special Risk Allowance (SRA) and other important health interventions to ensure the country’s preparedness next year in case of a new strain like the Delta variant. Also on Sunday, some lawmakers called on government agencies to improve spending and delivery of services and projects. “The time is up for the ‘funds for subsequent release’ and for all those programs and projects that should have been spent in the past months and for the remaining seven weeks of 2021, as Filipinos are now seeking the funds and demanding results, “said Bagong Henerasyon party list representative Bernadette Herrera. Iligan City representative Frederick Siao said with” the gradual reopening of the economy in November and December – barring a resurgence of COVID – Government agencies now have the opportunity to do much better than they have done in the past 10 months “when under stricter quarantine conditions.” If they have to work in three shifts to cover a 24/7 cycle, they should do it to get the job done right, on time, without delay, “he added. Siao said instead of reporting funds not yet spent as e savings or return them to the national treasury, these should be spent on the projects, programs and services originally planned. “They shouldn’t be released later at this point because there are none after the next nine weeks ahead of us,” he said.

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