"The House is now in order, thanks to Digong."
The House of Representatives will have passed by today the 2021 General Appropriations bill as its new leadership of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco promised President Duterte.
Further delay in the endorsement of the budget measure to the Senate would have made the government eventually resort to a reenacted national budget. This would have cost the country unconscionable loss of the needed funds for the healthcare program against COVID-19.
The President envisions each and every Filipino, now well over 120 million, to get vaccinated against coronavirus.
With the strong backing of the majority of lawmakers, Velasco guaranteed they will wrap up and pass on third and final reading the bill certified as urgent by the President who called this week’s “special session.”
The special session paved the way for the transition in the House Speakership which former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s camp apparently tried to prevent by suspending the session.
But the callous maneuver did not quite sit well with Manong Digong, who brokered the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco.
So, all is well that ends well. Thanks to Manong Digong, order has been restored in the House.
We can simply hope for a smooth-sailing passage of the all-important national budget, as Senate President Tito Sotto vowed a good working relationship with Velasco’s leadership.
“We will meet after Friday (October 16) when he promised to pass the budget on third reading as he told me,” Sotto quoted the new House Speaker as saying.
When Manong Digong said on Wednesday that he would find a way to get all Filipinos inoculated with anti-COVID-19 vaccine, it goes without saying that he wants every peso in the national budget intended for such purpose to be spent on vaccination and nothing else.
Let’s hope those in Congress have certainly come to their senses, and would now prioritize the people’s well-being rather than their political or personal interests.
The overarching concern is to pass the next year’s proposed national budget or fiscal year 2021 General Appropriations Bill, based on the government’s national expenditure program (NEP) with the theme “Reset, Rebound and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability.”
It’s a mouthful, but it simply means starting over by picking up the pieces and being better prepared for future challenges.
In view of the “flattening of the curve” on COVID-19 incidence, the government is carefully taking steps to reopen the economy by allowing Filipinos go back to work and business activities, even as we continue to observe health and safety measures.
We must by now have learned by heart the health protocols inculcated by seven months of community quarantine.
We must be individually and collectively responsible and accountable for what will come about five months from now, which will have been one year since the chaotic March 16 lockdown.