The House of Representatives on Thursday night approved on third and final reading the proposed PHP5.024-trillion budget for 2022.
With 238 affirmative votes, 6 negative votes, and no abstention, the chamber passed House Bill 10153, or the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which is the last full year budget to be enacted under the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
The House was able to pass its version of the spending measure on second and third reading on the same day following Duterte’s certification of urgency.
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the House was able to fulfill its commitment to pass the proposed 2022 budget in a “timely manner” after six weeks of deliberations.
“Immediately after the proposed budget was submitted by the President on August 23, we immersed ourselves in the serious work of reviewing and scrutinizing the budget of all government agencies. We tackled every issue, heard every concern, and clarified every ambiguity,” Velasco said.
Velasco said the timely passage of the budget would ensure that appropriate funding would be available at “Day 1 of the coming year” and government programs can proceed without delay.
“The swift and smooth passage of the proposed 2022 national budget shows our collective commitment and resolve to help our kababayans and economy build back better and hasten economic recovery through the effective delivery of government services,” he said.
The budget proposal is guided by a strategy supported by three main pillars, namely: Building Resilience amidst the Pandemic; Sustaining the Momentum towards Recovery; and Continuing the Legacy of Infrastructure Development.
Next year’s budget is 11.5 percent higher than this year’s PHP4.506 trillion.
The departments with the biggest allocations are the Department of Education with PHP773.6 billion budget; Department of Public Works and Highways, PHP686.1 billion; Department of the Interior and Local Government, PHP250.4 billion; Department of Health, PHP242 billion; Department of National Defense, PHP222 billion; and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, PHP191.4 billion.
About 38.3 percent or PHP1.922 trillion of the budget will go to social services; 29.3 percent or PHP1.474 trillion to economic services; 17.2 percent or PHP862.7 billion to general public services; 10.8 percent or PHP541.3 billion to debt burden (including net lending); and 4.5 percent or PHP224.4 billion to defense.
Duterte has certified as urgent the proposed bill containing the 2022 national budget to avoid delays in public service amid the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic.
In the September 29 letter addressed to Velasco, Duterte said the spending measure must be immediately enacted to “address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of the current fiscal year, to expedite the funding of various programs, projects, and activities for FY 2022, and to ensure budgetary preparedness that will enable the government to effectively perform its constitutional mandate.”
“I hereby certify to the immediate enactment of House Bill No. 10153 entitled An Act Appropriating Funds for the Operation of the Government of the Philippines from January 1 to December 31, 2022,” Duterte’s letter read.
Velasco said the overall objective is for Duterte to sign the GAB into law by December to prevent a reenacted budget that could slow economic growth and hamper the delivery of government services. (PNA)