House budget chief says budget approval by Oct 16 is possible

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The House appropriation committee chair is confident that the lower chamber can pass the proposed 2021 budget within the special session called by President Rodrigo Duterte, striking down concerns that four days will not be enough for deliberations.

“October 16 to pass the budget is very, very viable,” Rep. Eric Yap, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations said.

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will meet with leaders of the lower chamber on October 12 to discuss plans for the resumption of budget hearings the next day, Yap added.

The said meeting will also be attended by House Majority Leader and Committee on Rules chairman Ferdinand Martin Romualdez and Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, among others.

Two options are being weighed according to Yap, either withdraw the second reading approval and reopen the plenary debates, or pass the budget on third and final reading by October 16.

Duterte on Friday called for a special session of Congress on October 13 to 16, which will prompt the House to reconvene after sudden suspension as moved by Cayetano.

Some lawmakers were concerned that the four-day period is too short to pass the budget. Meanwhile, others wanted the 25-member capacity limit in the sessional hall be lifted to allow more lawmakers to physically attend the session, subject to social distancing rules. 

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