The proposed P5.024-trillion national budget for 2022 has been ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and now only awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.

The 2022 national budget is the most expensive in history. Under it, about P50 billion was allocated for Covid-19 vaccines, P22.99 billion for the construction of health facilities and P5 billion for a social amelioration program.

It was ratified by the Senate and the House of Representatives through a bicameral committee on Wednesday and will be forwarded to the president’s office for approval.

Malacañang on Thursday thanked Congress for “expeditiously” ratifying the proposed budget but did not give details as to when it would reach Duterte’s desk.

In a statement, acting Palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said next year’s budget would be essential to the country’s Covid-19 response.

“The Palace thanks Congress for working overtime to expeditiously ratify the proposed 2022 national budget. We consider next year’s budget vital to support our country’s Covid-19 resilience initiatives and to sustain our socioeconomic recovery efforts,” Nograles said.

“We are grateful to our partners in the legislature for ensuring that the Duterte administration’s last full-year budget will sustain the legacy of real change for future generations,” he added.

Duterte has to sign the 2022 budget by Dec. 31, or else the country would have a reenacted budget next year. John Ezekiel J. Hirro