Bicam budget deliberations adjourned after 30 minutes

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The bicameral conference committee composed of both the Senate and the House of Representatives have adjourned their budget deliberations on the proposed ₱4.5 trillion national spending bill for 2021.

The meeting only lasted under 30 minutes. Only a “chair-to-chair” meeting will be held for the rest of the week to finalize amendments to the measure.

Senate Finance Committee chair Sonny Angara told reporters that both chambers have agreed to delegate the amendments to him and House Appropriations Committee chair Eric Yap to reconcile differences in both versions.

More importantly, Angara assured that they are looking into the House’s request to allocate an additional ₱5 billion to the ₱20-billion calamity fund for 2021 to aid the rehabilitation of typhoon-struck areas.

Aside from Angara, physically present for the Senate panel were senators Pia Cayetano, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva, and Ramon Bong Revilla.

Other members of the Senate contingent were senators Panfilo Lacson, Cynthia Villar, Richard Gordon, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos, Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, and Francis Pangilinan.

Physically present for the House panel were Yap, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, Minority Leader Stephen Paduano, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, Deputy Speaker Michael Romero, and Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos.

Other members of their contingent were Deputy Speakers Doy Leachon, Loren Legarda, Lito Atienza, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc, Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit, Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, Romblon Rep. Eleandro Madrona, Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison, Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, Batangas Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, and Valenzuela Reps. Weslie Gatchalian and Eric Martinez.

Both chambers of Congress are targeting the ratification of the General Appropriations Bill before going on a holiday break. 

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