House eyes passing 2021 budget on final reading by Oct 15: leader

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 11:08 AM

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MANILA - The House of Representatives aims to pass the 2021 budget on final reading before Congress adjourns on Oct 15, a deputy speaker said Tuesday.

This is so the Senate can tackle the measure a month later as Congress resumes session, according to Camarines Sur 2nd Disrict Rep. Lray Villafuerte.

"Ang target namin by Oct. 15 pasado yan, yan din ang challenge namin sa Senate...Kami may kumpiyansa kami, lahat ng SONA commitments ni Pangulo pasado na namin, nasa Senate na," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(Our target is to pass it by October 15. We're confident, we've passed all of the President's SONA commitments, it's all at the Senate.)

When asked if the budget row among lawmakers has been resolved, Villafuerte that it was "okay."

"Okay naman po, 300 ang congressmen, may iba dyan may concerns, kami lang kasi gusto namin maayos ang budget, hindi ma-delay. Kung may individual, district concern pwede naman pagusapan nang maayos. Hindi dapat daanin sa init ng ulo ito," he said.

(It's okay. There are 300 congressmen, some have concerns, we just want to arrange the budget and not delay it. If there are individual, district concerns it can be discussed. It should result in temperaments.)

Villafuerte reportedly got into a heated discussion in a Viber group with Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. who questioned that Camarines Sur (CamSur) and Taguig were getting the largest fund allocation for next year.

Teves claimed that CamSur was getting P11.8 billion next year instead of P7.5 billion, Villafuerte said.

"Ang malaki si Cong. Teves, sabi ko nga 'Pare swerte ka P2 billion nilaan ng national government sayo samantalang 165 districts ang mas mababang nakuha kesa sayo. Yung sa akin, yung sinasabing P11.8 (billion) 'di naman totoo yan,'" he said.

(Cong Teves got a huge allocation. I said, 'You're lucky the national government allotted P2 billion to your district, more than 165 others. The alleged P11.8 billion allocated to mine is not true.)

"Sabi ko mas malaki yung sayo, P2 billion ka per district, sa'min P10 billion dapat."

(I said his was bigger at P2 billion per district. It should be P10 billion for us.)

Lawmakers will also look out for "double appropriations" in the proposed 2021 budget after these were flagged by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Villafuerte said.

The lump sum proposal of the Department of Public Works and Highways that Lacson raised has also been corrected, he added.

"Nung sinubmit yung NEP (National Expenditure Program), yung DPWH naka-lump sum pero after 3 days sinubmit nila yung addendum na line per line. Kumbaga kinulang sila sa oras," he said.

(When the NEP was submitted, the DPWH budget was a lump sum but after 3 days they submitted the line-per-line addendum. They just ran out of time.)