House of Representatives approves P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2021 11:57 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2021 06:30 AM

MANILA—Voting 238-6-0, the House of Representatives beat its own deadline to approve House Bill 10153 or the proposed P5.024 trillion 2022 national budget on second, third and final readings on Thursday, in time for the congressional adjournment for the filing of candidacies for the 2022 national and local Elections.

No amendments were made by the plenary, but the House created a small committee that will accept and process individual proposals from lawmakers that will be included in the final version of the bill that will be submitted to the Senate. 

Members of the small committee for the majority were Reps. Eric Go Yap, Joey Salceda, and Martin Romualdez; Rep. Stella Quimbo for the minority, and independent member Rep. Edcel Lagman. Lawmakers have until October 5 to submit their proposed amendments.

As there were no major amendments made by the House, education remained the top recipient of the budget, P773.6 billion in 2022 compared to P751.7 billion in 2021. 

This is followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways, which received P686.1 billion in 2022 compared to P695.7 billion in 2021. The Department of the Interior and Local Government has the third largest allocation (P250.4 billion compared to P249.3 billion in 2021).

Despite being in the middle of the pandemic, the Department of Health only got P242.0 billion compared to P210.2 billion in 2021. 

The Department of National Defense received P222 billion, the Department of Social Welfare and Development got P191.4 billion, the Department of Transportation got P151.3 billion, and the Department of Agriculture with P103.5 billion.

The Department of Justice got P45 billion, and the Department of Labor and Employment with P44.9 billion.

The budget of the top 10 departments amounts to P2.71 trillion and comprises 53.9 percent of the 2022 allocation.

The 2022 budget is 11.5 percent higher than this year's budget. It has P252.4 billion for health spending.

The measure will be submitted to the Senate whose members now have time to study the bill ahead of the resumption of sessions in October and approve the budget before yearend, preventing a reenacted budget.

On its last day, the plenary session ended deliberations on the budgets of the Office of the President, the Department of Education, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Congress of the Philippines, the National Commission on Senior Citizens, Lump Sum Funds and the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

Lawmakers raced against time the past 2 weeks, devoting at least 8 to 10 hours of plenary sessions a day while minimizing committee hearings, so they can finish the budget Friday and give senators enough time to approve the budget before yearend, preventing a reenacted budget.