Malacañang on Saturday thanked the House of Representatives for approving the P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021 on third and final reading on Friday.

“We thank the House of Representatives for passing on third and final reading the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on time or within the special session called by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque wrote in a statement.

Duterte himself called for the special session of Congress from Oct. 13 to 16 to resume deliberations on the proposed national budget bill for 2021.

After the speakership tussle between now House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano was resolved, the House voted 257-6 for the passage of the 2021 GAB on the final day of the special session.

Roque also voiced the need to forward the GAB to Senate at the soonest.

“We hope the House of Representatives would transmit its printed or soft copy to the Senate as soon as possible so that the Upper Chamber would be given ample time to act on this legislative measure, which has been certified urgent by the president,” he said.

The education sector was given the biggest slice of the 2021 budget pie at P754.4 billion.

Other recipients of bigger allocations were the Department of Public Works and Highways with a P667.3 billion 2021 budget; the Department of Interior and Local Government with P246.1 billion; the Department of National Defense with P209.1 billion; and the Department of Health with P203.1 billion.

The GAB also listed cushions to the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. John Ezekiel J. Hirro