The House of Representatives on Monday began its deliberations in a plenary session on the ₱4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.
In his sponsorship speech for House Bill 7727 or the General Appropriations Bill, ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, cited the importance of cooperation among his colleagues to pave the way for a smooth passage of the money measure.
"Let us all unite in passing this national budget. This is not just for us, but also for the poorest of the Filipinos," Yap said.
"More work needs to be done and it is my hope that the entire budget process will not be delayed by whatever issue that the Congress may face in the coming days,” he added.
Last Friday, Yap's committee approved the proposed national government budget for next year. The proposal is 9.9 percent higher than the P4.1-trillion 2020 national government budget.
Just like the two Bayanihan measures, the 2021 budget is focused on the government’s continued response to the COVID-19 crisis and will be passed by the chamber in record time.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House committee on ways and means, said during the plenary debates that no new taxes shall be implemented in the remaining years of the Duterte administration.
But Congress will push for tax measures that would take effect in the next administration, he said, stressing that these tax measures are needed to finance loan repayment.
"I think the policy predisposition is really not to impose new taxes or to collect or exact new taxes, but merely to defer these taxes... [until July 1, 2022]," said Salceda.
The House is set to finish the plenary deliberations on HB 7727 on Oct. 7. It is eyeing to transmit the bill to the Senate by Oct 14. Congress will adjourn on Oct. 16.