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Key legislator sees 2021 budget measure ratified by midweek

CONGRESS is set to ratify the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 by Wednesday afternoon, laying down a possible timetable for obtaining the President’s signature before the new year starts, the chairman of the House appropriations committee said.

Party-list Representative Eric G. Yap said the bicameral conference committee report will be released Wednesday morning for ratification by the House and Senate in the afternoon.

“We will have another bicam tomorrow (Tuesday). We will wrap it up after that,” he told reporters.

Mr. Yap added that legislators plan to submit the 2021 General Appropriations Bill to President Rodrigo R. Duterte sometime before Christmas.

Mr. Yap said legislators are currently finalizing other details of the proposed budget for next year.

“We need to allot time for encoding. After encoding is done, it can be printed after seven to 10 days,” he said, depending on the speed of the printing office.

Mr. Yap said most of the changes in the proposed budget for next year were institutional amendments.

The bicameral panel provided more funding for the government’s pandemic response and the procurement of coronavirus vaccines, he said.

It also prioritized for funding those infrastructure projects that can be finished within 2021, he added.

Mr. Yap said the budget also contains substantial funding for the rehabilitation and recovery of calamity-stricken areas.

Speaker Lord Allan Q. Velasco requested a P5 billion increase in the calamity fund for the reconstruction of areas hit by recent typhoons. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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