The House of Representatives plans to transmit to the Senate the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget by mid-October or before Congress goes on a Halloween break, said ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go-Yap, chair of the House committee on appropriations.
“We hope to have the money measure submitted to the Senate before we adjourn on Oct. 16,” Yap said late Friday, stressing that Oct. 14 was the target date.
The House earlier planned to finish the entire deliberations on the budget bill by the end of September.
But Yap said the chamber would be needing more time to address the concerns of lawmakers with regard to the budgetary allocations for their respective districts.
Just like the two Bayanihan measures, the 2021 budget is focused on the government’s continued response to the COVID-19 crisis and will be passed by the chamber in record time, he said.
The budget proposal is 9.9 percent higher than the P4.1 trillion 2020 national government budget.
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado, in his speech during the budget bill submission ceremony, said the 2021 National Expenditure Program “will sustain government efforts and effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by focusing on government spending on improving our healthcare systems, ensuring food security, creating more jobs by investing on labor intensive projects, enabling a digital government and economy as well as helping communities cope in these trying times.”
“Hence, the theme of the FY 2021 NEP is ‘Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability,’” Avisado added.
The education sector remains as recipient of the biggest chunk of the budget, with a total of P754.4 billion for the Department of Education, state universities and colleges, the Commission on Higher Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
The second biggest share was given to the Department of Public Works and Highways with a P667.3 billion budget allocation; followed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government with P246.1 billion, the Department of National Defense with P209.1 billion, and the Department of Health with P203.1 billion.
Also included on the list of top 10 agencies with the highest budget allocation were Department of Social Welfare and Development with P171.2 billion, the Department of Transportation with P143.6 billion, the Department of Agriculture with P66.4 billion, the Judiciary with P43.5 billion, and the Department of Labor and Employment with P27.5 billion.
“The imposition of community quarantine has had a significant impact in the economic and social activities in our country while our healthcare sector continues to struggle against the pressure of the pandemic,” Avisado said.
“We, in the government, must be able to effectively respond and with the fiscal year 2021 NEP, we hope to fully address the impact of the health crisis and accelerate our economic recovery,” he added.