MANILA, Philippines - The House of Representatives has finally approved in plenary the reconciled version of the P1.645 trillion 2011 General Appropriations bill.
The majority overpowered the minority in the viva voce or voice vote when the motion to ratify the bicameral conference committee report was put forth by House Majority Leader Neptali 'Boyet' Gonzales.
The voting was delayed by about an hour because of questions raised by budget critics.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño questioned the appropriations committee chair why the congressmen were not given copies of the bicameral report prior to voting.
Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay asked Abaya why there is a colatilla appropriating savings from the P21 billion peso conditional cash transfer (CCT) program to the education and health sectors.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman asked Abaya why P750 million budget for school buildings and
P 200 million pesos from the family health budget were realigned to other items.
All these were for naught though because the vote still happened.
With today’s ratification at the House, and yesterday’s at the Senate, the budget may be ready for the president’s signature before the year end.
This is the first time in over a decade that the budget bill was passed into law on time.
The House then adjourned for the Christmas break, scheduling resumption of sessions on January 17.