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Senate eyes passage of P5.024T proposed budget by Dec.



Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday said that senators are targeting to pass its version of the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) or the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget by December.

Sotto added that the upper chamber will begin its plenary debates on the proposed budget during the resumption of the Congress’ session on 8 November.

“Upon resumption,” Sotto answered when asked when will the 2022 GAB face the Senate plenary. “Hopefully passage by the first week of December.”

On 27 October, the House of Representatives transmitted its approved version of the 2022 GAB to its counterpart —two days ahead of its supposed deadline.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the early transmittal is to ensure the timely enactment of next year’s budget and to give senators more time to scrutinize and pass their own version of the GAB.

Members of the lower house made key amendments to their version of the budget bill including an additional P20-billion appropriations for the country’s purchase of Covid-19 vaccines and a provision of P4.5B for the special risk allowance (SRA) of frontline medical workers.

Lawmakers also inserted a provision of P5 billion for the medical assistance to indigent patients and P10 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Pangkabuhayan as Ating Disadvantaged or Displaced Workers Program (TUPAD) program, whose beneficiaries include indigent families and informal sector families.

The proposed 2022 General Appropriations Act is 11.5 percent higher than the 2021 national budget amounting to P4.506 trillion.

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