The ratification of the P4.5 trillion national budget bill for 2021 was targeted for early December, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Saturday.
“Tiyak ‘yun dahil siguradong sasabihin sa amin ni Pangulong Duterte ‘wag kami magbabakasyon hanggat di namin maipapasa,” Sotto said in a radio interview.
The Senate president said the “ideal date” would be on December 6, 2020.
The Senate closed the period of interpellation for the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 early Saturday morning.
The senators had been holding marathon sessions since Monday, with debates starting as early as 10 a.m. and ending past midnight most of the time.
“Target namin Monday pagusapan ang amendments; Tuesday second and third reading; November 25 print [at] kopya magtatawagan na bicam members,” Sotto said, referring to the bicameral conference committee.
The bicam, represented by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, reconciles and approves the final version of the budget bill before it will be ratified by the Congress.
‘[November] 26 maguumpisa ang bicam... kahit holiday umaandar bicam. ‘Pag sinusuwerte suwerte baka December 6 pwede namin ma-ratify [or] 6, 7, 8 kung walang deadlock,” Sotto said.
The Senate president said he will push for the increase of the Department of Information and Communications Technology’s (DICT) budget for its National Broadband Program as he emphasized the need to improve internet services and connectivity.
The Senate, he said, will also augment the Department of Health’s P18-billion budget to increase its capability to purchase potential COVID-19 vaccines and also allow it to have enough resources for storage and logistics.
Sotto was optimistic the differences between the House and Senate versions of the budget bill will be reconciled during the bicam.
“Hhindi naman talaga pwedeng sabihin na talagang malaki sapagkat ang pinaguusapan lanng namin dito baka less than 20% of the entire budget kasi ang ibang budget na pinasa ng House de kahon na ‘yun, ex ample personal services, debt servicing di mo magagalaw ‘yun,” he said.
“‘Yung for the year na gastusin ‘yun lang ang pinaguuusapan... medyo meron malaking pagkakaiba pero ‘di naman siguro magiging problema sapagkat mapaguusapan sa bicam,” he added. — DVM, GMA News