THE Senate and House bicameral conference committee has approved the final version of the proposed 2021 national budget.
Senator Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the budget they approved was focused on pandemic response and recovery efforts.
He said both the Senate and House contingents to the bicam concentrated on responding to the pandemic and calamities, especially following the recent series of typhoons that ravaged the country.
Based on the approved bicam committee version, biggest allocation was for education (Department of Education, State Universities and Colleges, Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) with an allocation amounting to P708,181,173,000.
Also in the top ten list are Department of Public Works and Highways, P694.88 billion; Health agencies, P287.47 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, P247.50 billion; Department of National Defense, P205.47 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development, P176.66 billion; Department of Transportation, P87.45 billion; Department of Agriculture, P68.62 billion; Judiciary, P44.11 billion; and Department of Labor and Employment, P36.61 billion.
With the approval of the national budget, the Senate and the House are now expected to ratify appropriations measure this Wednesday afternoon so it can be submitted to the office of President Rodrigo Duterte for signature.
The Senate earlier said the target was to transmit the 2021 budget bill to Malacañang for the President’s signature by December 18 or December 21, at the latest.
COVID-19 vaccine purchase
House contingent head ACTS-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap said the budget includes allocations for the purchase of vaccines against COVID-19, enhancement of health facilities and financial aid to poor families.
The proposed 2021 national budget reflected an increase of around P300 billion for infrastructure as requested by the economic managers.
Apart from P1.1 trillion for infrastructure, the P4.5 trillion 2021 budget also includes P7.6 billion in additional spending for adapting to the post-COVID life, including items on telecommunications enhancements and P203 billion for healthcare.
The controversial budget of the National Task Force End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) of P19 billion is untouched.
Vice Chairman of the Bicam Rep. Mikee Romero said the allocation of P23 billion for rehabilitation of typhoon-hit areas in final General Appropriatons Bill (GAB). With Jester P. Manalastas