THE House of Representatives, under newly-installed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, has resumed the deliberation on the proposed 2021 national budget.
Amid the Speakership row between Velasco and then Speaker Peter Alan Cyetano President Rodrigo Duterte called a special session to finish the budget which faced delay because of the squabble.
The appropriations measure, House Bill 7727, was also certified as urgent and therefore can be easily approved on second and third reading.
The majority of solons are not in favor of terminating the deliberation on the budget because the budgets of major agencies should be scrutinized.
The 2021 national budget is pegged at P4.5 trillion or 9.9 percent higher than this year’s allocation.
The new leadership had to void or annul the surprise decision of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to pass the measure on second reading and suspend session until Nov 16.
The chamber decided to go back to plenary debates following the failure of Cayetano’s leadership to deliberate on the budget of crucial agencies like the DPWH, where Negros Oriental Rep. Arnie Teves detected and questioned hefty allocations for Cayetano and his loyal allies.
The entities that remain unchecked are the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR); Department of Transportation (DoTr); Department of Education (DepEd); Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT); Department of Tourism (DoT); Department of Health; (DoH); Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO); Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA); Department of Budget and Management (DBM); Department of Energy (DoE); Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Also pending for deliberations are the proposed budgets of the constitutional offices like the Commission on Elections, Commission on Audit and the Civil Service Commission, together with the Commission on Human Rights.
Even the proposed appropriations for all the State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) have not been tackled, including other executive offices like the Commission on Higher Education (CHED); the Climate Change Commission and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, and many others.
The special session is expected to end on October 16.