Sun. May 9th, 2021

Select members of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday began the bicameral deliberations on the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.

The committee will conduct the deliberations through  “hybrid sessions” as part of social-distancing measures to avoid coronavirus infections. On November 26, the Senate approved its version of the proposed budget while the House passed it own version last October 16.

Leading the Senate contingent to the bicameral deliberations are Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Sonny Angara who will be joined by Senators Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Panfilo Lacson, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Christopher “Bong” Go, Imee Marcos, Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe and Francis Pangilinan.

Senators  Manny Pacquiao, Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Nancy Binay and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., have been designated as alternates.

The House contingent is led by Appropriations Committee chairman ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap. Joining him as vice-chairmen are Deputy Speakers Doy Leachon and Mikee Romero. At least 20 other members of the lower chamber also comprise the House contingent.

Among the sensitive issues that may be raised during the bicameral deliberations is the deletion of about P60 million from the budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways to help fund the government’s national broadband project and assistance to typhoon victims.

Also, Lacson noticed the some of the allies of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco got higher budgets for their districts, while those associated with former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano got lower allocations. SOVEREIGNPH

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