THE House of Representatives yesterday transmitted to the Senate the copy of approved 2021 General Appropriations Bill one day ahead of the date promised by the chamber leadership.
The 2021 national budget is P4.506 trillion.
In a statement, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said this record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response to the coronavirus pandemic and stimulate the crisis-hit economy.
According to Velasco, not only did they pass the proposed 2021 national budget in a timely, constitutional and legal manner, but also they made sure next year’s spending plan will be more reflective and responsive to the needs of the people amid the worst public health crisis in a generation.
The Speaker announced that the House proposed an increase in the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vccines by more than three-fold to cover more Filipinos.
“We also provided extra allocation for the facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health to help improve the country’s health care system,” Velasco said.
The House-approved version of the budget likewise approved additional funding for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to aid workers displaced by COVID-19 and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for another round of financial assistance to families affected by the pandemic.
Likewise, the small committee, assigned by Velasco to study further amendments, introduced P20 billion worth of institutional amendments that include P5.5 billion for COVID-19 vaccines; P4 billion for displaced workers assistance; P2 billion for pandemic assistance to afflicted families; P2 billion for Health Facilities Enhancement Program under Department of Health (DOH); P2 billion for the Armed Forces of the Philippines acquisition of C-130 aircraft; P2 billion for the Department of Interior and Local Government to mobilize the assets of the Philippine National Police (PNP); P1.7 billion for the Department of Education for internet needs of schools; P400 million for the Philippine National Oil Company for the development of renewable energy; P300 million for mental health programs; P100 million for the improvement and modernization of the system of the Energy Regulatory Commission.
Velasco expressed gratitude to the members of the House for working hard on the budget and submitting it on time to avoid a reenacted outlay.
“The House could not have done it without its hardworking and dedicated members, including the Secretariat, who worked till the wee hours of the morning on a number of occasions to ensure that we pass a budget that is fair, equitable timely and responsive to the needs of the country as we fight this very serious public health and economic crisis. I a m grateful to them for making this chamber truly the House representing the people,” he said.