Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday certified as urgent the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for next year, citing the need for continuous government operations. 

In a letter to Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, the president said passing the budget bill on time would also allow the state to “respond more effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic and support initiatives toward national economic recovery.” 

The certification allows the House of Representatives to approve the budget bill on second and third reading on the same day. 

“We are right on track with our schedule,” Mr. Romualdez said in a separate statement, adding that congressmen would probably approve the measure on Wednesday. 

Also yesterday, the House passed on final reading a bill that seeks to modernize tax administration and improve tax compliance. 

It  unanimously approved House Bill 4125 or the proposed Ease of Paying Taxes Act, which will simplify the filing of tax returns for small taxpayers. 

The measure will introduce a medium-sized taxpayer classification and create a special unit in the Bureau of Internal Revenue that will focus on improving taxpayer services. 

It will also remove the distinction between sales invoices and official receipts, legislate taxpayers’ bill of rights and do away with the P500 annual taxpayer registration fee. 

Congressmen also passed on final reading House Bill 5001 or the Free College Entrance Examinations Act. 

The measure mandates all private higher education institutions to waive college entrance exam fees for poor graduating high school students and graduates who belong to the top 10% of the graduating class. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo and Kyanna Angela Bulan