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Senate to start budget deliberations next week

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The Senate will begin deliberations on the proposed P2.006-trillion 2013 national budget next week in order to ensure its passage before the end of the year.

Senator Franklin M. Drilon, Senate Finance Committee chairman, said on Friday that the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) will brief the senators on Monday on the National Expenditure Programs, in particular regarding the macro economic targets, revenue generation and expenditure programs, and the Aquino administration’s priority spending in 2013.

After the two-day briefing, the Finance sub-committees will hold hearings on the proposed budgets of various national government departments as well as of government-owned and controlled corporations starting Wednesday, with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) being the first to be grilled.

The hearings by the sub-committees are expected to last until the end of October, creating ample time for the Senate floor deliberations by November, Drilon said.

Drilon is also confident that Congress will be able to sustain the momentum it has gained for the last two years in passing the budget before the year-end.

“In the past two years, we were able to pass the General Appropriations Acts before December 31 of each year, and if we were able to do it then, I am confident that we can do it again with the cooperation of everyone,” Drilon said.

“This budget is really for the people because it aims to give back to the Filipino people the service that they deserve,” he added.

Drilon said passing the budget, the most important piece of legislation, on time is the solemn duty of the Senate “because failure to do so will be a deprivation to every poor Juan Dela Cruz.”

”Our poor countrymen will be the most affected if we will not be able to pass the budget on time. This budget is for them,” Drilon stressed.

The finance committee has conducted performance review of some government agencies like the Departments of Social Welfare and Development, Public Works and Highways, and Environment and Natural Resources in preparation for the budget deliberations.

Among the big items in the budget, the conditional cash transfer –- the Aquino administration’s flagship poverty alleviation program –- is expected to get the attention of the legislators because of its huge allocation, noted Drilon.

He said that the proposed budget of the DSWD to implement the CCT in 2013 is P44.26 billion, an increase of 12.2 percent from its 2012 allocation of P39.45 billion.

The DBCC, which prepares the national budget, is composed of the secretaries of the Department of Budget and Management as chairman, and of the Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority as members. The Office of the President is also a member and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas serves as a resource body.

By PNA




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