Palace hopeful 2021 budget bill will be passed on time
Amid power struggle in the House, Speaker Cayetano (Taguig City-Pateros) and wife Rep. Lani (Taguig City) visit presidential son and Deputy Speaker Pulong Duterte (Davao City) in Davao in this photo shared by Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) on his Instagram account on September 27,2020
Rep. Yap's Instagram page
Palace hopeful 2021 budget bill will be passed on time
Alexis Romero ( - September 27, 2020 - 4:33pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:42 p.m.) — Malacañang expressed hope that the passage of next year's budget would not be delayed following the approval of the spending bill at the House committee level.

The House appropriations committee approved last Friday the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021, which has been described by officials as the biggest economic stimulus during the pandemic.

The approval came as some sectors fear that the budget deliberations may be derailed by the leadership row at the chamber. The proposed budget for next year will be discussed in the plenary next week.
"On the part of the executive branch and as stated by the president, we want the budget approved immediately...We do not want a repeat of the delays in the (passage of the) budget especially during a pandemic. The government relies on that budget... for its programs and activities in 2021," Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in a live online session on Saturday.

"When the budget is delayed, there will be delays in the implementation (of programs). That should not happen especially during the time of COVID (coronavirus disease)... The faster the budget will be approved, the better," he added.

Nograles noted that the proposed 2021 outlay would fund the government's pandemic response and vital programs in health care, education, transportation, and infrastructure.

House leaders have given assurances that the issue over the chamber's leadership would not delay the passage of the budget.

Under a term-sharing deal brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) would be the House Speaker until October 2020 while Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) would succeed him and assume the post until June 2022.

Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte (Camarines Sur), however, claimed in a recent television interview that the majority of lawmakers want Cayetano to remain as the leader of the chamber.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque has said Duterte would not interfere in the House leadership squabble but insisted that the approval of the 2021 budget is "non-negotiable." 

In a tweet, The STAR reported that 202 members of the House of Representatives have indicated support for Cayetano to stay on as House speaker until June 2022.

The STAR also reported that the lawmakers, dubbed the “Supermajority Coalition”, from political parties allied with President Duterte’s ruling PDP-Laban party—thanked Cayetano for guiding them since July 2019 when the 18th Congress convened. — with a report from The STAR/Delon Porcalla

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