Senate President Vicente Sotto III; House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco; honorable members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives; Budget and Management Secretary Wendel Avisado; and the other, of course, who are here, I greet all of you — all members of Congress present; ladies and gentlemen.
I stand before you today happy and proud to sign the 2021 General Appropriations Act.
This important piece of legislation attests to the importance of an active and fruitful collaboration between the Executive and the Legislative branches of government, especially at this time when the health and welfare of our people are at stake.
The prompt ratification of the 2021 national budget is a testament to our commitment to set aside divisive partisan politics. Indeed, at this crucial juncture in our history, we can no longer afford to engage in the politics of division, hate, and finger-pointing.
Let me therefore take this moment to recognize the Department of Budget and Management under the able leadership of Secretary Avisado [applause] — [Take a bow. Nawala tuloy ako.] — as well as our civil society partners for offering their extensive knowledge and technical expertise in crafting a budget that will enable us to heal, rebuild, and resume our economy’s upward trajectory.
I am pleased that through the budget, we may continue to pursue our flagship Build, Build, Build program, revitalize our industry and service sectors, and support our much-needed social services projects.
Let me stress, however, that one of the most important items in the 2021 budget is the allocation of 72.5 billion pesos for the purchase, storage, transportation, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
As we look forward with hope for the coming year, let me assure the public that this administration will ensure the efficient use of our resources through a sound fiscal policy that will enable us to overcome the debilitating effects of the pandemic on public health and our economy.
I cannot stress this enough: Every centavo of this budget must be spent to ensure our nation’s recovery, resilience, and sustainability.
Let this therefore serve as an assurance to the Filipino: This coming year, we intend to recover as one nation.
Maraming salamat at mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino. [applause]
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SOURCE: PCOO-PND (Presidential News Desk)