House opens floor debates on P4.5-T national budget

THE House of Representatives will start on Monday the plenary deliberations of House Bill 7727 or the proposed P4.5 trillion General Appropriations Act of 2021.

Sponsoring the 2021 national budget on Monday are House Committee on Appropriations Chairman and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, Sultan Kudarat Rep. Horacio Suansing, Quirino Rep. Junie Cua and Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit.

Yap said the plenary deliberations on the budget will start at 10 a.m.

Based on the schedule of sponsorship and floor deliberations, the sponsorship will be finished by October 7.

“The next few weeks will be very challenging and I appeal to our colleagues for their cooperation, unity, and professionalism. This is the people’s budget and it is our obligation to make sure that the national budget will not only be passed on time, but ultimately, it will respond to the growing needs of our countrymen. More work needs to be done and it is my hope that the entire budget process will not be delayed by whatever issue that the Congress may face in the coming days,” Yap added.

The House is looking to transmit to the Senate the 2021 national budget before the 18th Congress takes its break on October 17.

Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu said the House of Representatives is very much prepared to start and finish in record time the passage of next year’s national budget, like what they did last year in approving the P4.1-trillion GAA for 2020.

“The timely passage of the national budget is very crucial to our economic recovery from the effects of coronavirus disease-19 [Covid-19] pandemic. We are united with the common goal to get the country back on its feet,” said Abu.

“There is not much in the agenda. We have been working very hard in the last few weeks to approve all important bills to ensure another record time passage of the national budget and productive House of Representatives,” said Abu.

With the theme “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability,” the 2021 expenditure plan is higher than this year’s budget by 9.9 percent and equivalent to 21.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

By expense class, personnel services will receive the bulk of the next year’s allocation at 29.2 percent, reaching P1.32 trillion. This level considers the huge additional hiring of health workers under the Human Resource for Health Program of the Department of Health (DOH), the second tranche implementation of the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, and the increased pension requirements of military and uniformed personnel.

Capital Outlays will come in second with P920.5 billion, accounting for 20.4 percent of the proposed budget and growing by 12.9 percent. The increase in Capital Outlays from this year’s budget is owed mainly to the increase in infrastructure programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH, 14.7 percent) and Department of Transportation (DOTr, 42.6 percent).

Meanwhile, Maintenance, Operating and Other Expenditures will amount to P699.4 billion, Debt Burden with P560.2 billion, Support to Government-Owned and -Controlled Corporations with P157.5 billion, and Tax Expenditures with P14.5 billion.


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