Sotto expects bicam version of 2021 budget bill ready by Dec. 6

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 21) — Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III says he expects the Senate to pass on third reading its version of the 2021 General Appropriations Bill by next week, with the bicameral version ready by December 6 or 7.

“I expect it to be done by December 6, with or without contentious provisions,” Sotto said on Saturday, adding that it may also be ratified on the same date.

The bicameral conference committee is tasked to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the budget bill.

The lower chamber passed on third and final reading the proposed ₱4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 last October 16.

With 267 affirmative votes and six negative votes, the bill was approved on the final day of the special session called by President Rodrigo Duterte amid the speakership squabble between Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and now House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

The Senate received the copy of the bill from the lower chamber on Oct. 27, a day earlier from the senator’s requested transmittal date.

Sotto said he expects the Upper Chamber to pass its version on third reading by Nov. 24 or 25.

CNN Philippines correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.