Tue, 12 Dec 2023

MANILA - Senator Sonny Angara assured on Tuesday that the Senate can wrap up its budget deliberations as scheduled.

This, after the House of Representatives (HOR), through Speaker Martin Romualdez, received on Monday a letter from President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., certifying as urgent the PHP5.268 trillion proposed budget for 2023.

"I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of House Bill No. 4488... in order to address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of the current fiscal year, strengthen efforts to respond more effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic, and support initiatives towards national economic recovery," read Marcos letter dated September 16.

Angara, who chairs the Committee on Finance, said the certification of urgency of the General Appropriations Bill will enable the House to pass the measure on the same day.

"It looks like the House is on schedule to pass the budget bill and we look forward to its submission once finalized by the HOR," Angara told Senate reporters via Viber.

"Meantime, the Senate will finalize its budget briefings/hearings throughout most of October as scheduled," he added.

On Tuesday, the Committee on Finance deliberated on the budgets of the Commission on Audit, Office of the Ombudsman, Department of National Defense, Commission on Higher Education, state colleges and universities, University of the Philippines, and other attached agencies and corporations, among others.

Based on the Senate legislative calendar, the first adjournment of session of the 19th Congress will be on October 1. Resumption is on November 7.

Angara assured that despite being on a break, the Senate will continue to deliberate on the budget.

The HOR will wrap up plenary debates on Wednesday, Appropriations committee vice chair and Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said in a statement on Tuesday.

" So far, we have terminated the debates for 61 agencies and constitutional bodies, leaving us with 14 more to deliberate on," she said. (PNA)

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