By Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza, Reporter
THE BUDGET department said on Wednesday that it expects President Rodrigo R. Duterte to sign the proposed P5.024-trillion budget for 2022 after Christmas.
“We expect the 2022 budget measure will be signed before the year ends, so it’s between, perhaps, after Christmas until the 29th,” Budget Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie L. Canda said in a televised Palace briefing.
Mr. Duterte late Tuesday said he plans to raise P10 billion for the recovery effort in the wake of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).
About P6 billion is expected to come from the 2022 national budget, Ms. Canda said. “It will be available in a couple of days once the GAA or the General Appropriations Act is signed for 2022.”
At the briefing, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles said the Palace has yet to receive a copy of the spending plan, which was ratified by the House of Representatives and the Senate last week.
“It will go through a vetting process; only then can we say when it will be signed,” he said.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Juan Edgardo M. Angara told BusinessWorld that the President is set to sign the spending plan on Dec. 28.
Mr. Sotto said in a text message that he will sign the budget bill on Thursday. “I was informed he is scheduled to sign on the 28th.”
Mr. Angara, meanwhile, said the devastation from Typhoon Odette, the strongest storm to hit the country this year, is one of the reasons for the budget bill’s early approval.
“I’m sure that’s one reason,” he said in a Viber message. “But even in normal times, governments want to have a budget in the new year in order to function properly.”
Typhoon Odette is estimated to have taken about 150 lives, according to government reports.
The storm tracked through northeast Mindanao, the Visayas, and Palawan last week, adding to the burden of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
On Dec. 15, health authorities confirmed the detection of the country’s first cases of the highly mutated Omicron variant.