By: Genalyn D. Kabiling
Malacañang has appealed to the Senate to hasten the approval of the proposed national budget following the passage of the House version of the bill.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the government intends to use the national budget to build a stable, comfortable, and peaceful life for all Filipinos.
“We hope that the Senate can swiftly approve its own version of the proposed bill on the national budget so that our lawmakers can start working to harmonize their versions of the bill when a bicameral conference committee is convened,” Abella said.
“Through our 2018 national budget, we hope to lay down the foundation for a Matatag, Maginhawa, at Panatag na Buhay, as anchored on our Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022,” he said.
The House of Representatives, voting 223-9, recently approved the proposed P3.7-trillion national budget on third and final reading. The House budget bill has been transmitted to the Senate for consideration.
Sen. Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, vowed to sponsor the budget bill and conduct marathon sessions before the session adjourns. Congress is expected to adjourn for a month-long break on October 12.
Abella said the Executive branch submitted the budget bill early “so Congress would be given ample time to review the budget and early time to approve it.”
“The submission of the proposed P3.767-trillion budget last July 24 marks the first time since the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos that the budget proposal is submitted on the day of the President’s State-of-the-Nation Address,” he said.
The Palace has proposed a national budget that is 12.4 percent higher than this year’s appropriations.