By Romer Reyes Butuyan
MANILA — To ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte signs the proposed P4.506 trillion national budget for 2021 before the year ends, the House of Representatives formed a 21-member contingent to the Bicameral Conference Committee to fine tune the provisions of the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
The contingent, led by Committee on Appropriations Chairman Eric Yap of ACT-CIS party-list, is tasked to reconcile discordant provisions of House Bill 7727 or the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2021.
Yap will be joined by his vice-chairs Deputy Speakers Salvador “Doy” Leachon and Mikee Romero and 16 members from the majority, namely, Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc, Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit, Deputy Majority Leader Bernadette Herrera, Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona, Negros Occidental Rep. Francisco Benitez, Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison.
Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda, Assistant Majority Leader Kristine Singson-Meehan, Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, Deputy Speaker Jose “Lito” Atienza, Batangas Rep. Eileen Ermita-Buhain, Valenzuela Rep. Eric Martinez, Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, and Valenzuela City Rep. Weslie Gatchalian.
Also part of the contingent are Minority Leader Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano and independent lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
Earlier, Speaker Velasco said the ratification of the 2021 national budget was high on the House agenda.
Velasco added that the “record-high budget” is the government’s “single and most powerful tool” to fight COVID-19 and help the economy and the people recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic.
Likewise, the Lower House will seek an increase of at least P5 billion in the 2021 calamity fund for the reconstruction of areas devastated by recent strong typhoons, but Paduano is suggesting for a much higher figure. (AI/MTVN/FC)