THE House of Representatives is set to start deliberating on the proposed 2021 national budget amounting to P4.5 trillion.
The House committee on appropriations chairman ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap announced the start of the budget hearing on September 4 and said they expected to finish it on September 15.
Yap vowed to scrutinize the 2021 budget to ensure the money will go to most important programs and response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Asahan ninyo pong bubusisiin namin nang maayos ang budget ng Pilipinas, alinsunod sa direksyon ng Pamahalaan na maramdaman ito ng bawat Pilipino,” Yap said.
“Ang pangako namin dito sa Congress ay mapupunta ito sa bawat ahensya na nanganagilangan nito, at masisigurado rin na ang taumbayan ang makikinabang at walang maiiwan. Layon nating maisaayos agad ang pagpasa ng budget at tiyakin na hindi lamang sa panahon ng pandemya mararamdaman ang tulong kundi sa pang araw-araw na buhay rin ng bawat Pilipino. We intend to sustain our economic growth and build on our previous gains while facing the pandemic head-on,” he added.
For his part, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano reaffirmed the House’s commitment to focus on the 2021 national budget and set aside other issues, effectively shelving discussions on constitutional amendments for the rest of the year.
“For me, we can tackle Cha-Cha (charter change) once our problem with the pandemic is over,” Cayetano said in a statement.
“The timing is bad. How can we hold a plebiscite where people have to line up while COVID-19 is still with us? That’s not counting the campaign period,” he added.
House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chair Rufus Rodriguez had earlier confirmed to reporters that there will be “no more discussions on Cha-Cha this year.”
“The committee, following the Speaker’s suggestion, will meet in January or February next year. We have to concentrate on the measures against COVID-19,” he said.
Cayetano said the 18th Congress needs to be proactive and focused if it is to come up with an inclusive budget that will address the nation’s problems.
“During this time of crisis, it’s important for us to talk about how our kababayans will survive, but as House of the People, it’s more important for us to discuss how our constituents will face the post-pandemic world. Will they have food on their table? Will they have jobs to return to? Will they still have homes after the pandemic? These are the problems we wish to address when we start our budget hearings next week,” he added.
Saying the House will remain transparent in its budget deliberations, he encouraged the public to participate through social media, especially Facebook, and email or by reaching out to the government.
Here are the top 10 departments to get bigger budget: DepED (P754.4 billion); Department of Public Works and Highways (P667.3 billion); Department of Interior and Local Government (P246.1 billion); Department of National Defense (P209.1 billion); Department of Health (P203.1 billion); Department of Social Welfare and Development (P171.2 billion); Department of Transportation (P143.6 billion); Department of Agriculture (P66.4 billion); The Judiciary (P43.5 billion) and Department of Labor and Employment (P27.5 billion).