Senate eyeing approval of ’24 budget next week
BY RAYMOND AFRICA
SEN. Juan Edgardo Angara, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, yesterday said the proposed 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) will likely be approved by Monday next week, and ready for transmission to the Office of the President by the first or second week of December.
In a chance interview before the start of plenary discussions on the proposed P5.768 trillion budget for next year, Angara said the Senate can approve the budget bill on third reading on the same day that it is passed on second reading since the measure has been certified as urgent by President Marcos Jr.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri has said that the upper chamber is aiming to approve the 2024 GAB by November 27 to give more time for the bicameral conference committee to iron out the differing provisions of the two versions of the budget measure.
The Senate and the House want the next year’s proposed national budget bill ready for signing by President Marcos Jr. by the end of the year and before Congress goes on break for the holidays.
Angara clarified the early approval of the proposed budget measure is not a self-imposed deadline.
“We just match every year, hindi naman nag iiba masyado ‘yan, it’s dictated by the legislative calendar, hindi kami puwedeng lumayo doon, nag-a-adjust kami. Ang adjustment namin ay nag-se-session kami hanggang gabi, Thursday and Friday (We just match [the approval date] every year, the schedule does not differ very much because it is dictated by the legislative calendar. We should follow it by making some adjustments. The adjustments we have made is that we hold sessions until the early hours of the following day, we also have sessions on Thursdays and Fridays),” Angara said.
He refused to give a specific date when the 2024 national budget bill will be sent to Malacañang, saying it is “hard to anticipate” if there will be issues that will arise when both chambers of Congress convene the bicameral conference committee.
“Mahirap mag-anticipate, usually may issue sa kanila na hidi naman issue sa amin. We will see. Mapag-uusapan nang maayos (It’s hard to anticipate because there are usually issues that our counterparts raise but are