The House of Representatives' small committee's institutional amendments amounting to P20-billion in the proposed 2021 national government budget were “well-meaning and should not be a cause of conflict between the two houses of Congress.”
This was said on Friday by the Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, adding, "I think this is not a violation of the Constitutional process as claimed by some sectors but let us assume that despite the problem in the procedure, the intent... substance of the proposal is good for the people.”
“The critics may be looking at errors in the process but I stand on reform and amendment being pushed by the House. I do not see any problem. Everyone will benefit and this is a needed amendment in the budget in the midst of the problem we see with COVID," he added.
Defensor instead appealed: "Can we possibly avoid discussions on this matter and instead cooperate in the deliberations in the Senate and the bicameral committee?"
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, a member of the House's small committee, said the "institutional amendments" were introduced to the budget bill after it had been approved on third and final reading by the House.
The amendments include additional P5.5 billion for COVID-19 vaccines; P4 billion for the Department of Labor and Employment to aid displaced workers; P1.7 billion for the Department of Education to provide the internet needs for online classes; P2 billion for the Department of the Interior and Local Government for mobility assets of the police; and P2 billion for pandemic assistance to affected families, among others.
The House will transmit to the Senate its approved version of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill on Oct. 28.