MANILA, Oct 27 (Mabuhay) — The House of Representatives recently forwarded to the Senate its version of the proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022, ACT-CIS Representative Eric Yap said Wednesday.

Yap, chairperson of the House appropriations committee, shared to reporters a copy of the letter addressed to Senate President Vicente Sotto III indicating the transmission of House Bill 10153 or the 2022 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on October 25, two days earlier than originally planned.

“In doing so, we hope to give our senators reasonable time to scrutinize and pass their own version of the GAB as we look forward to the bicameral conference where we can thresh out and reconcile the differing provisions of the House and Senate versions,” Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said in a statement.

Velasco also stressed the importance of enacting the national budget before the end of the year.

“We cannot afford a reenacted budget, which is expected to dampen the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis,” he said.

“A reenacted budget will definitely ruin our efforts to build back better and deliver much-needed services for our kababayans amid the pandemic,” he added.

Yap said the national budget bill followed the thorough process of evaluation, debate, and amendment in the House.

The chamber met its target to end the budget deliberations on September 30, giving the final nod to the bill before Congress went on a month-long break.

Some key amendments to the budget bill were made, including an allocation of P20 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots and P4.5 billion for the special risk allowance of qualified public and private health workers. (MNS)

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