SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday vowed that the House of Representatives will expedite the passage of the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget after President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte appealed to Congress to stop politicking as it could place the nation’s welfare in jeopardy.
“We take the President’s stern admonition to heart and we assure the public that we share his concern for the welfare of our people,” Cayetano said in a statement shortly after the President’s televised address.
“Thank you Mr. President, because Congress can now continue to deliberate on the budget without the specter of politics and intrigue hounding us,” Cayetano said.
In his address, the President urged the House to resolve the impasse on the budget and pass the 2021 National Budget legally and constitutionally.
“If you do not solve the problem then I will solve the problem for you. Mamili kayo. Ang pakiusap ko, ayusin niyo. Isipin niyo ang Pilipino na nasa ospital at yung mamatay ngayon na walang gamot,” he said.
While the President said he would not give a deadline for Congress to resolve its issues, Cayetano gave a timeline and said the House will submit the printed budget to the Senate on November 5.
He said this would allow the Senators to proceed with their own hearings and prepare the way for the formal transmittal of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill on November 16 when the House is expected to approve it on third and final reading.
Cayetano apologized to the President and the whole nation “for having added anxiety to an already uncertain situation” but noted that all the actions that have been taken by the House are “legal, constitutional, and in line with time honored precedents in the House.”
“Neither I nor the other members of Congress will sacrifice the budget in this time for political expediency,” he said.
Cayetano also expressed gratitude to Senate President Vicente Sotto III for his commitment to work with the House of Representatives in meeting the nation’s deadline.
“We want to present a budget that will be the embodiment of our hope for the future. A budget that will allow us not just to dream of recovery but to bring this to reality. We understand the fears and concerns, but we are confident that history’s judgment will show our intentions to be for the country,” he said.