Palace: Avisado submitted proposed 2022 budget before going on leave

MANILA, Philippines — Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado was able to submit the proposed 2022 national budget before going on medical leave, the Palace said Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the proposed national budget for next year is currently being printed before it is passed on to Congress for deliberations.

“Bagama’t [Budget] Sec. Avisado is on sick leave, naisumite niya ang final na proposed budget natin at pini-print na ang ating national expenditure plan for submission to Congress. So natapos po ‘yun,” Roque said.

Avisado is on medical leave from August 2 to 13 on the advice of his doctor. The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Avisado was afflicted with COVID-19, was hospitalized for eight days, and went under quarantine for “over a month.”

However, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said Avisado’s medical leave “cannot be at a worse time” as the deliberations for the 2022 national budget of a pandemic-stricken Philippines loom.

Zarate said Avisado’s medical leave timing is “truly lamentable” as the National Capital Region (NCR) area prepares for another lockdown, underscoring the government’s need for another financial assistance program.

House of Representatives Appropriations Committee chairperson Eric Yap, however, believes that the budget deliberations are “right on track” even with Avisado’s leave.

“Secretary Wendel is always one call away. I think the budget deliberations is right on track,” Yap said in a text message.

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