Bicam approves proposed P4.5-Tr budget for 2021

The 2021 General Appropriations Bill containing the P4.5-trillion national budget is one step away from its approval after Congress on Wednesday finalized and approved the final version of the spending bill.

The contingents from both chambers reconvened the Bicameral Conference Committee on the 2021 national budget at Makati Shangri-La to approve the final version of the bill.

In a press conference after the GAB’s approval, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sonny Angara and House Appropriations Chairman Eric Go-Yap said they are eyeing its ratification this afternoon.

They said the final version of the spending bill gave priority to calamity recovery and the COVID-19 response of the government.

Angara said the enrolled bill will be sent immediately to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte’s review and approval.

Some provisions were “informally” sent to Malacañang so that the Executive Department can already start the review of the proposed spending bill.

Angara, on the other hand, said that conditional implementation or outright veto is “usual” in every GAB, emphasizing that the President is authorized to exercise it on some items in the budget.

The top 10 agencies that will get the lion share of the bicam-approved GAB are the education sector including the higher education with P708 billion; Public Works with P694 billion; Health including the PhilHealth and vaccines P287 billion, Interior and Local Government with P24& billion; National Defense with P205 billion; Social Welfare and Development with P176 billion; Transportation with P87 billion; Agriculture with P68 billion; Judiciary with P44 billion; and Labor and Employment with P36 billion.

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