THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) is expected to submit the government’s 2022 spending plan as scheduled on or before August 25 even with Secretary Wendel E. Avisado’s sick leave, according to a lawmaker. 

Senator Panfilo M. Lacson Sr., in a statement, said no delays are seen in the transmittal of the 2022 National Expenditure Program (NEP) as online communication with the Budget chief is possible.    

“Even with the physical absence of Secretary Wendel Avisado, the Department of Budget and Management has an abundance of competent and capable career undersecretaries and assistant secretaries who can avail of existing telecommunication technology for his guidance and direction,” said Mr. Lacson, vice chair of the Senate Finance Committee.  

“I thus cannot see any reason for the delay in the constitutionally mandated 30-day period submission of the National Expenditure Program to Congress, after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address last July 26,” he said.  

DBM announced Saturday that Mr. Avisado will be on medical leave from August 2 to 13 following his recent bout with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Budget Undersecretary Tina Rose Marie L. Canada will be temporarily in charge of the department.  

Mr. Lacson said he also sees no impediment to holding simultaneous public hearings on the budget in the House of Representatives’ Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan