Senate eyes to end 2019 budget delibs this week

MANILA The Senate leadership is eyeing to finish the plenary deliberations for the proposed 2019 national budget within the week to meet its deadline of third reading approval by January 21.

In an interview, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said senators agreed to finish interpellations by Wednesday and resolve the amendments to the national budget over the weekend.

"Hopefully, second and third reading Monday na po [we'll have it approved on second and third reading] by Monday [next week]. Para magkaroon na ng bicam ang House and Senate next week (So that the House and Senate could convene a bicam next week). And hopefully, we'll be able to ratify by Wednesday next week," Zubiri said.

Senators met in an all-member caucus earlier in the day to discuss the timetable for the proposed PHP3.757-trillion 2019 national budget.

Upon resumption of session, the budget of the following agencies will be subject to plenary debates: Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Tourism, Department of National Defense, Department of Health, Bureau of Immigration, Commission on Elections, Dangerous Drugs Board, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency, Presidential Legislative Liaison Office, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.

Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, said the chamber will continue to hold marathon sessions to ensure the immediate approval of the 2019 budget.

"We aim to have the budget signed by the President by the second week of February," Legarda said.

Legarda assured that the Senate will pass a budget that is geared towards improved programs and services for the people, gradually eliminating underspending.

"While pressed for time, we will perform our duty to pass a budget that is geared towards our collective desire to provide our people with programs and services that would usher in personal growth, community development and national progress. We want to ensure that every peso from the people's taxes go back to them through actual delivery of services and programs," Legarda said. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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