THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is expected to submit the proposed national budget for 2021 to Congress in August.

Budget Undersecretary Laura B. Pascua on Sunday said the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has already approved the P4.506-trillion budget ceiling for 2021. Next year’s proposed budget is higher than the P4.1 trillion allocated for this year.

“The P4.506-trillion (budget) was approved by the DBCC for recommendation to PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte). We have to meet the constitutional deadline by Aug. 26,” Ms. Pascua said via Viber on Sunday.

The figure is higher than the previous proposal of P4.335 trillion, after taking into account the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The DBM is given 30 days from the date of the SONA to transmit the proposed national budget to Congress.

House of Representatives Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said the timely enactment of a “stimulus” national budget for 2021 as well as measures meant to address the crisis will be the 18th Congress’ priorities for its second session, which opens on Monday.

“We are going to hit the ground running. Time to roll up our sleeves once again and work double time to immediately pass the national budget and the COVID-19 roadmap for recovery,” Mr. Romualdez said in a statement on Sunday. — Beatrice M. Laforga