enator Christopher “Bong” Go shared during an interview on Tuesday, December 1, that the 2021 General Appropriations Bill has been approved on third and final reading by the Senate and is now being finalized by the Bicameral Conference Committee which he attended earlier in the day.
“Kanina pong umaga, nag-umpisa na po ang pagpupulong namin sa BiCam. Ako po, bilang miyembro ng BiCam at Vice Chair ng (Committee of) Finance sa Senado, napagkasunduan na mag-uusap muna ang dalawang liderato ng both houses, ng Senado at Lower House,” Go said during an ambush interview after his visit to fire victims in Quezon City.
“Maybe, may mga minor changes and hopefully ma-ratify na po sa both houses ang budget para on-time po ma-i-sumite sa executive at mapirmahan ng mahal na Pangulo bago matapos ang taong ito para pagdating ng Enero, meron na tayong working budget dahil importante po ang budget sa ating buhay ngayon,” he added.
Earlier, Go urged fellow lawmakers to focus on the work to be done by passing on time a 2021 budget that is responsive to the needs of the Filipino people amid the pandemic.
“Kailangan maipasa ‘yung budget. As a senator, I am always ready to work. Para po ito sa bayan. Ibalik natin sa tao ‘yung dapat para sa kanila,” he said.
Go also assured that the needs of Filipinos during the pandemic have been taken into consideration in the proposed 2021 budget.
“Nandun po sa loob ng budget ang mga programa at tulong para po sa mga Pilipino dito sa laban natin sa COVID-19, so wala na pong rason na ma-delay ito at mapirmahan na ng Pangulo. Hopefully, next week ma-ratify na po ng both houses,” he said.
In his previous statements, Go emphasized that the budget for 2021 must respond not only to the country’s goal to overcome the pandemic, but also to be more prepared for and more responsive to any other health crisis that may come the country’s way.
“Bigyan po natin ang ating mga kababayan ng bagong pag-asa at mas maayos na kinabukasan,” Go quipped.
The Senator also expressed his support to shifting priorities and realigning spending policies to focus on containing the spread and mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, funding the procurement or production of vaccines, restarting the economy to create jobs and attract investments and alleviate poverty.
“As we move forward, we need to make long-lasting plans not only for our recovery but also for our sustainable future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Go also mentioned that budget for the vaccine has been set aside in the 2021 budget. “Kasama po (ang budget sa vaccine). Pinag-aaralan lang kung may idadagdag pa ba,” he said.
The Senator added that President Rodrigo Duterte directed concerned government agencies to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, aside from its affordability, accessibility and availability.
“Nakausap ko rin si Pangulong Duterte at iba pang ahensya na siguraduhin nila, bago pumili ng vaccine ay unahin ang safety nito, safe na bang iturok sa bawat Pilipino, at ang efficacy nito, of course. ‘Yung availability kung saan tayo makakakuha, affordability, magkano ito at accessibility para po sa mahihirap,” Go said.
“Uulitin ko, uunahin namin ni Pangulong Duterte lahat ng mahihirap, vulnerable, frontliners, guro, sundalo at pulis para unti-unti na tayong makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay,” he added.