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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

16 December 2021 10:14:57 AM

The House of Representatives ended its 2021 legislative session on a positive and hopeful note Wednesday with the ratification of the P5.024-trillion national budget for next year.

Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said the budget ratification capped the chamber’s months-long effort to craft policies needed to shepherd the country towards recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

“This budget offers hope, opportunity and economic security for our kababayans as we tread on the path to recovery in 2022,” Velasco said.

He said the spending plan provided Congress the “single greatest opportunity” to shape the country’s priorities for next year as COVID-19 drags on.

The House adjourned its session to go on a one-month legislative break for the holidays. Regular sessions will resume on January 17, 2022.

In his adjournment speech cum Christmas message, Velasco thanked all his colleagues in the bigger chamber for their hard work and dedication in ensuring the passage of vital pieces of legislation that would help the country navigate through and emerge stronger from the pandemic.

“All of us played important roles in this monumental responsibility,” Velasco stressed. “And because of the commitment and dedication of every person here today, we are bringing this dark and difficult chapter in our history to a hopeful close.”

He added: “In this time of crisis, I am truly humbled to stand by your side and fight for the Filipino people. Every day is an opportunity to champion our constituents.”

As of last Tuesday, the House approved 133 Republic Acts and expected more measures will be signed into law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte before the year ends, including the proposed 2022 General Appropriations Act.

The chamber also approved 930 measures on third reading, and adopted 266 resolutions.

“This is our harvest of legislation for 2021 so far. Maraming salamat, mga kasama, sa patuloy na pagpupunyagi at suporta,” Velasco told his colleagues.

Velasco said the House leadership was also proud to have “instituted reforms, revised plans, and implemented programs to ensure the health and safety of everyone as we keep the legislative mill running.”

“If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it is that we are stronger than we knew,” Velasco said.

“We are more capable than we realized. We have seen that there is more that unites us than divides us. We have seen that our legislative work is vital to our pandemic response.”

The Speaker also called for prayers as the country is faced with another challenge, as Typhoon Odette barrels towards the Visayas and Mindanao.

“Let us all pray for everyone's safety, as we assure our respective constituencies that we will be ready to assist when needed,” Velasco said.

The House leader likewise rallied his fellow legislators to remain steadfast and committed in 2022, which he described as “a crucial year for our country.”

“Let us build on our accomplishments and let us face 2022 with defiant hope. Magkaisa po tayo sa pag-asa, sa pagbangon, at sa pagbubunyi,”Velasco said.

He ended his speech with the words: “Dear fellow Members of the House: Have a triumphant Christmas and a New Year filled with hope!” #