MANILA, Philippines – The government’s national spending plan for 2022 is being printed and prepared for submission to Congress as scheduled, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said yesterday.
During a press briefing, Roque said Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado was able to submit to the Palace the National Expenditure Program (NEP) of 5.024 trillion pesos for 2022 before going on leave. medical.
“We are now printing the national spending plan for submission to Congress,” Roque said. The executive department usually submits its budget plan to Congress after the president’s state of the nation speech. President Duterte delivered his last SONA on July 26.
There were rumors that Avisado had resigned from his post. “For now, these are rumors because I received a copy of the DBM press release,” said Roque, referring to the Ministry of Budget and Management.
âI have no basis to question the accuracy of this press release. He is on sick leave, âhe added.
In a statement released on Saturday, the DBM said Avisado would be on sick leave from August 2 to 13 after being hospitalized for COVID-19.
Her doctor advised her to do a “series of tests” because it has been 14 years since the secretary underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery, the department said.
“Rest assured that DBM remains steadfast and committed to its mandate to promote the effective and efficient management of the national budget to support its budget priorities, especially in the midst of the pandemic.”
Senator Panfilo Lacson said Avisado’s leave should not delay the submission of the budget plan to Congress.
Lacson, deputy chairman of the Senate finance committee, said the DBM “has an abundance of knowledgeable and capable career under-secretaries and assistant secretaries who can use existing telecommunications technology for its advice and support. direction “.
“So I see no reason for the delay in the 30-day constitutionally prescribed period after SONA submitted the NEP on July 26 to Congress,” Lacson told reporters in a text message.
He said the timely presentation of the measure would allow the Senate finance committee and the House of Representatives’ appropriations committee to begin their respective hearings on the proposed budget.
The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) approved the spending cap in NEP 2022 at 5.024 trillion pesos, 11.5 percent higher than NEP 2021.
The senator said earlier that the Senate would scrutinize the proposed budget but ensure Congress passes the measure in time to avoid the possibility of having a replenished budget in preparation for the May 2022 general election.
Lacson said he and his fellow senators would do their duty to review the proposed budget and pass it before the December recess from Congress.
âThe passage of the national budget bill will not be delayed if we can help it. While we are aware of the October 1-8 timeline for the filing of nomination papers, we can assure our people that preparations for the 2022 elections will not disrupt our efforts to review and adopt the national budget, âsaid Lacson in a press release. .