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Senate eyes passage of P5.7T budget next week

SENATE President Juan Miguel Zubiri yesterday said senators are eyeing the passage of the P5.768 trillion proposed national budget or the General Appropriations Bill on Wednesday next week.

In a chance interview at the 31st Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum Annual Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center, Zubiri said the Senate, last Tuesday at dawn, ended the period of interpellations on the proposed budget and the period of amendments will begin Tuesday next week.

Once the period of amendments is through, he said the Senate can pass the budget bill on the second and third reading, the same day since it was certified as urgent by the President.

“We are now in the period of amendments. The approval of amendments and the second and third reading passage will take place on Wednesday, at the least),” Zubiri said.

After the third reading passage, Zubiri said the bicameral conference committee would convene the following day.

“Then we can ratify it before December 10 so it can be signed by the President before he goes to Japan,” he said.

Zubiri said the budgets of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Human Settlement and Urban Development will be bigger compared to their budget this year since allotments for Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and housing projects will also increase in 2024.

“All the social welfare budgets and programs will be increasing so it can cater to the needs of our countrymen, especially those in Samar and General Santos City,” Zubiri said.