House approves proposed P5-T nat’l budget for 2022 on final reading

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MANILA – The proposed PHP5.024-trillion budget for 2022 was approved on third and final reading by the House of Representatives on Thursday night.

The chamber passed House Bill 10153, or the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), with 238 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and no abstentions. This is the last full year budget authorized under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration.

Following Duterte’s certification of urgency, the House was able to pass its version of the spending measure on second and third reading on the same day.

After six weeks of deliberations, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House was able to keep its promise to pass the proposed budget for 2022 in a “timely manner”.

“Immediately after the proposed budget was submitted by the President on August 23, we immersed ourselves in the serious work of reviewing and scrutinizing the budget of all government agencies. We tackled every issue, heard every concern, and clarified every ambiguity,” Velasco said.

According to Velasco, passing the budget on time will ensure that adequate funding is available on “Day 1 of next year” and that government activities may begin without delay.

“The swift and smooth passage of the proposed 2022 national budget shows our collective commitment and resolve to help our kababayans and economy build back better and hasten economic recovery through the effective delivery of government services,” he said.

The budget proposal is guided by a strategy supported by three main pillars, namely: Building Resilience amidst the Pandemic; Sustaining the Momentum towards Recovery; and Continuing the Legacy of Infrastructure Development.

The budget for next year is 11.5 percent more than the PHP4.506 trillion budget for this year.

The departments with the biggest allocations are the Department of Education with PHP773.6 billion budget; Department of Public Works and Highways, PHP686.1 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, PHP250.4 billion; Department of Health, PHP242 billion; Department of National Defense, PHP222 billion; and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, PHP191.4 billion.

Social services will receive 38.3 percent of the budget, or PHP1.922 trillion; economic services will get the 29.3 percent, or PHP1.474 trillion; general public services will receive 17.2 percent, or PHP862.7 billion; debt burden (including net lending) will receive 10.8 percent, or PHP541.3 billion; and defense will receive 4.5 percent, or PHP224.4 billion.

To avoid delays in public service during the current Covid-19 outbreak, Duterte has classified the proposed bill embodying the national budget for 2022 as urgent.

In a letter to Velasco dated September 29, Duterte stated that the spending measure must be enacted as soon as possible to “address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of the current fiscal year, to expedite the funding of various programs, projects, and activities for FY 2022, and to ensure budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate.”

“I hereby certify to the immediate enactment of House Bill No. 10153 entitled An Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Government of the Philippines from January 1 to December 31, 2022,” Duterte’s letter read.

The main goal, according to Velasco, is for Duterte to sign the GAB into law by December in order to avoid a reenacted budget that would hinder economic growth and impede government service delivery.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.