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Alvarez assures timely passage of nat’l budget

House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez yesterday assured the timely and immediate passage of the proposed P3.3-trillion national budget for next year, P23.5 billion of which will be earmarked to finance the congressional projects of lawmakers.

Alvarez said they will roll up their sleeves to ensure the timely passage of the national budget for next year. “Between now and November, we’ll prioritize deliberations for the national budget for 2017,” he said.

House Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas, another stalwart of the PDP-Laban, said they are set to ratify the proposed 2017 General Appropriations Act on December 14, 2016. “We will pass the General Appropriations Bill in time for the President to sign it into the General Appropriations Act on or before we adjourn on December 14. This will be the first National Expenditure Program of President Rody and we will see his priorities for his first year in office,” he said.

Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said budget briefings will start on August 22 as they eye to transmit the spending bill to the plenary for discussions on September 19. “Immediately after the NEP is submitted to us by Secretary Diokno, the congressmen and congresswomen have one week to scrutinize its contents. Thereafter, on August 22, we will begin the budget briefings per department and agency in government all the way up to September 13. Then on September 19, we will bring the budget to the floor for plenary debates,” he said.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno will submit the budget to Alvarez today.

“We will have a budget responsive to the people’s needs and in support of President Duterte’s thrusts, priorities, and call for change,” Nograles said. (Charissa M. Luci)