By The Philippine Star, November 7, 2021; The Philippine Star

Manila, Philippines — The House of Representatives will be prioritizing passage of the government’s P5.024-trillion 2022 national budget and proposals to cut fuel excise taxes when it resumes session on Monday, House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Sunday.

Velasco in a statement issued Sunday morning said the House will tackle proposals seeking to either suspend or cut the excise taxes on petroleum products amid rising cost in fuel prices during the resumption.

“[The House] would like to be informed of how fuel prices have shot up so fast in a matter of weeks, so that we can possibly come up with measures that will help mitigate this emerging obstacle towards our recuperation,” Velasco said.

This also comes after Senate leadership ruled out the possibility of a reenacted budget in 2022, an assurance that Velasco said he welcomed.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III was quoted in reports as saying that he was “hopeful” of its passage by the first week of December.

“Our commitment is to ensure that the budget bill, which is focused on getting the Philippines back on the road towards full recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, reaches President Duterte’s desk before the yearend,” Velasco said.

“We are glad that the Senate is on the same page as the House insofar as the national budget is concerned.”

The House passed its version of the 2022 General Appropriations Bill on third and final reading on September 30 and has transmitted it to the Senate on October 25 or two days ahead of the October 27 deadline earlier set by the lower chamber.

“As soon as the Senate is done with its own version of the budget, the House will be selecting the contingent to the bicameral conference committee to help reconcile the two versions,” Velasco said.

“With such assurance from the Senate leadership, we do not see any major stumbling block in having a ratified and enacted 2022 national budget by December.”