To avoid a reenacted budget, the House of Representatives has transmitted to Senate the proposed P5.024-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2022.
With the transmittal of the spending plan to the Senate, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said in a statement, the proposed budget for 2022—the last national budget to be enacted under the Duterte administration—is on track to enactment before yearend.
As the economy gradually moves toward full reopening, Velasco said he was “extremely hopeful that the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget will help propel the Philippine economy to a strong recovery starting 2022.”
The House chief said the importance of enacting the national budget before the start of the fiscal year on January 1, 2022, cannot be overstated.
“We cannot afford a reenacted budget, which is expected to dampen the country’s recovery from the Covid-19 crisis,” Velasco said.
“A reenacted budget will definitely ruin our efforts to build back better and deliver much-needed services for our kababayans amid the pandemic,” he added.
Velasco said printed copies of the House-approved 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) were sent to the Senate two days ahead of the October 27 target date set by the lower chamber.
“In line with our commitment to ensure the timely enactment of next year’s national budget, we have transmitted to the Senate the 2022 GAB duly approved by the House ahead of schedule,” Velasco said.
“In doing so, we hope to give our senators reasonable time to scrutinize and pass their own version of the GAB as we look forward to the bicameral conference where we can thresh out and reconcile the differing provisions of the House and Senate versions,” he added.
With this development, Velasco said Congress is on schedule to send the all-important budget measure to President Duterte for his signature by December this year.
Earlier, the House said it has introduced a total of P65.5 billion as institutional amendments to the 2022 budget.
Velasco said the House version of the budget bill includes institutional amendments designed to help boost the government’s Covid-19 response, as well as upgrade the assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) and fund state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
The institutional amendments were vetted and approved by the five-member committee formed by the House to consolidate individual amendments on the proposed 2022 national budget as contained in House Bill 10153.
These amendments include P29.5 billion to buy more Covid-19 vaccines, provide medical assistance to indigent patients, and ensure special risk allowance of public and private health workers.
With the theme, “Sustaining the Legacy of Real Change for Future Generations,” the 2022 P5.024-trillion NEP is equivalent to 22.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and is higher by 11.5 percent than this year’s national budget.
For 2022, the government expects to generate P3.290 trillion in total revenues, representing 14.9 percent of the GDP.