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Senate tackles BBL, P3-trillion nat’l budget

Passage of the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016 and the Bangsamoro Basic Law is on top of the Senate’s legislative agenda as it resumes its regular session today.

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon said the Senate is set to start deliberations on the proposed budget for next year soon, noting that the House of Representatives has passed their version of the 2016 General Appropriations Act on third reading last October 9.

A copy of the proposed 2016 national budget has been transmitted to the Senate.

“The Senate will pass the 2016 budget on schedule, for the unimpeded and timely delivery of government services next year,” Drilon said, adding they would do so as they have consistently done so in the last five years in the Aquino administration.

The Senate went on a month-long break and will resume plenary session today. It will have another recess on December 19 for the Christmas season.

Aside from the budget, the Senate will also tackle the proposed BBL, the version of the measure Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., head of the Senate Committee on Local Government, submitted to the Senate.

The Marcos’ version, or the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region, is currently pending on second reading at the Senate. The bill was in the period of interpellation prior to the Senate’s adjournment.

“We will continue to work hard on it so hopefully, it will hurdle the Senate before the year ends,” Drilon said.

Marcos, who is running for vice president in the upcoming May 2016 elections, vowed his candidacy will not get in the way in the deliberation of his pro-peace bill, saying he will not abandon the BLBAR to concentrate on candidacy.

As soon as the Senate finishes deliberations on the 2016 national budget, Marcos said he will resume deliberation of the BLBAR. (HANNAH TORREGOZA)