Appropriations committee chair Eric Yap on Friday said the House of Representatives would be able to transmit copies of the proposed 2021 national budget to the Senate by October 28.
Yap made the commitment after Senate President Vicente Sotto 3rd and Senator Panfilo Lacson appealed to the lower chamber to transmit the House-approved budget bill to the upper chamber not later than the end of the month.
Yap said while the House would be able to comply with the Senate’s request to receive the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) by October 28, it will not be sent as a hard copy.
“Hindi ko pwedeng ipahiya ang Speaker [Lord Allan Velasco] ko. It will be [on] Oct. 28. But hindi siya yung hard copy. Kung ano yung sinubmit namin sa NPO [National Printing Office], ‘yun ‘yung ibibigay namin sa kanila [Senate] which is ‘yung print lang, ‘yung sa white paper lang (I cannot embarrass our Speaker. It will be on Oct 28. But it’s not the hard copy. Whatever we submit to the NPO, we would also give to the Senate, which is printed on white paper only),” Yap said.
Yap also denied allegations that congressmen will insert their individual amendments in the spending measure after its approval in the lower chamber.
Lacson warned that the Constitution prohibits amendments after the final reading of bills.
Fears of post-approval amendments to the GAB were raised by senators after it was reported that the House plans the budget transmittal on November 5, or more than two weeks after its scheduled third reading approval.
The House of Representatives is set to approve the 2021 national budget bill on second and third reading on Friday after President Rodrigo Duterte certified the measure as urgent.