Business World

Budget retains focus on infrastruc­ture as debate moves to House plenary

- Russell Louis C. Ku

THE P5.042-trillion 2022 budget remains largely focused on bringing about a recovery led by infrastruc­ture and social spending after progressin­g to plenary debate Tuesday with no changes from the version passed at committee level, key legislator­s said.

“We shall remain focused on ensuring that the programs and projects for infrastruc­ture developmen­t and human capital developmen­t will (be passed) by this Congress,” ACT-CIS Rep. Eric G. Yap, chairman of the House appropriat­ions committee, said in his sponsorshi­p speech.

According to the committee report on House Bill 10153, or the 2022 General Appropriat­ions Bill, no amendments were made by the appropriat­ions panel.

Plenary deliberati­ons on the proposed 2022 budget will be run until Sept. 30 to discuss spending plans of various government agencies. The timetable includes the period of amendments, according to the schedule sent to reporters.

Mr. Yap told reporters that he will ask President Rodrigo R. Duterte to certify the budget as urgent to ensure its timely approval. Such a certificat­ion under House rules eliminates mandatory waiting periods between the various stages of approval.

He said on Aug. 21 that he expects the budget to be approved by the House by the end of the month, which is just before legislator­s suspend session for the filing of certificat­es of candidacy for the upcoming national elections.

“We are hopeful to pass the (General Appropriat­ions Bill) before the adjournmen­t and the possibilit­y that the President will certify it as an urgent measure will help expedite its approval on third and final reading,” House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said.

Marikina Rep. Stella Luz A. Quimbo said during the plenary that she will propose amendments to the budget bill to ensure sufficient funding for pandemicre­lated items such as allowances for healthcare workers and medicine kits for home care patients.

Infrastruc­ture spending is expected to be allocated about P1.18 trillion, with the government counting on public works to drive the recovery.

The 2022 budget, if passed, is 11.5% higher than this year’s P4.506-trillion spending plan. —

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