House transmits 2021 budget bill ahead of agreed deadline

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The House of Representatives transmitted the 2021 General Appropriations Bill on Tuesday, a day ahead of the promised date, which the Senate warmly welcomed and applauded.

“I wish to thank and congratulate Speaker Lord Velasco for the swift transmission. It’s even one day ahead of my original request that they send it on the 28th,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said through a text message to reporters.

Oct. 28 was the initial deadline agreed upon by newly-installed House Speaker Velasco and Sotto as they attempt to heed President Rodrigo Duterte’s wish for its swift passage.

“This record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response and stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic,” Velasco said in a statement.

“We increased the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines 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.”

The lower chamber passed the 2021 budget on final reading last Oct. 17, after President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent.