Duterte may sign 2021 budget before Christmas
“First of all, if we can finish it this Friday we need four or five days to encode those changes, and then we also have seven days to print the book. So, before Christmas the General Appropriations Bill will be on the President’s table, if he wants to sign it,” he said.
Robinson Ninal Jr/Presidential Photo

Duterte may sign 2021 budget before Christmas

Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - December 2, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators and congressmen comprising the bicameral conference committee may be able to settle their conflicting positions in the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget soon enough to allow President Duterte to sign it in time for Christmas.

Rep. Eric Go Yap of party-list ACT-CIS, chairman of the House appropriations committee, said both the Senate and the House contingent that he heads expect a fine-tuned budget document on the President’s desk by the “third week” of December or before Christmas.

“First of all, if we can finish it this Friday we need four or five days to encode those changes, and then we also have seven days to print the book. So, before Christmas the General Appropriations Bill will be on the President’s table, if he wants to sign it,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero of party-list 1Pacman, who sits as vice chairman of the House contingent, shared the same target date and estimated that both the Senate and the House may be able to finish the bicam by Dec. 8.

“Before Christmas is our target. Hopefully, we finish this bicam latest on Monday (Dec. 7),” the president of the 54-member Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. said, reassuring the public that the General Appropriations Bill will have “zero pork.”

Yap made the same assurance to reporters while emphasizing that at least P5 billion or maybe even more would be allocated for the purchase of vaccines for COVID-19.

As far as they are concerned, Yap said congressmen are lobbying for funds that will help their constituents recover from the effects of recent typhoons.

“The most important thing for us is to have those calamity funds, particularly those congressmen whose districts have suffered because of Super Typhoons Rolly and Ulysses where crops and houses have been severely damaged,” he said.

“And of course, we also have our own allocation for our COVID-19 response,” Yap added.

Meanwhile, the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) yesterday hit the move of Sens. Franklin Drilon and Sonny Angara to insert questionable provision in the 2021 budget of the PAO forensic laboratory.

“It is an illegal, despotic, whimsical, vindictive and unconstitutional provision in the PAO budget,” PAO said.

The provision inserted by the two senators would reportedly prevent PAO employees from receiving their salaries and from using the budget for laboratory operation. – Rhodina Villanueva

NATIONAL BUDGET PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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