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2021 Budget tops house priorities

Lord Allan Velasco
Lord Allan Velasco

SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco assured the people that the 2021 national budget will be approved and signed into law before the year ends.

The House of Representatives yesterday resumed session with the approval of the budget for next year as the top priority.

For 2021, the proposed national budget is P4.5 trillion or 9.9 percent higher than this year’s budget.

“We are looking forward to the bicameral conference on the 2021 General Appropriations Bill and hopefully, we will be able to ratify the bicam report before Congress adjourns for the holidays,” Velasco said.

Congress has only four weeks left in session before it adjourns on December 19 for a month-long Christmas break.

According to Velasco, the record-high budget is the government’s single-most powerful tool to fight coronavirus and help the economy and people recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

“We are working with our House leaders in finding ways to fast-track priority measures that will ensure a more efficient and responsive government during these trying times,” Velasco said.

“We are confidence that our colleagues in the legislature share a common goal,” he added.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez said that another important measure to be prioritized is the proposed extension of the validity of the Bayanihan 2 or To Recover as One Act.

According to Romualdez, the budget bill and Bayanihan 2 are aimed at strengthening the country’s economy and protect Filipinos against the effects of COVID-19 and recent calamities.

The House leader said they are considering filing and expediting the approval of a bill that would extend the validity of the Bayanihan 2 bill to enable the national government to complete the release of a P140-billion response to the coronavirus pandemic even after the end of year 2020.