Senate OKs P2.006-T nat'l budget on 3rd and final reading

November 28, 2012 10:58 pm 

By Jelly Musico

MANILA, Nov. 28 – The Senate approved Wednesday night on third and final reading the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for 2013 dubbed as the ‘empowerment budget’ crafted to address the plight of the poor and vulnerable Filipinos.

Voting 14-1, the senators passed the House Bill 6455 or General Appropriations Act of 2013 which is 10.4 percent higher compared to this year’s P1.816 trillion and represents 16.8 percent of the gross domestic product next year.

Sen. Joker Arroyo was the only senator who voted against the passage of the budget which he claimed was ‘look alike’ of the budget prepared by Malacanang and budget approved by the House of Representatives.

The senators who voted for the budget approval included Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and senators Francis Pangilinan, Panfilo Lacson, Sergio Osmena III, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Antonio Trillanes IV, Aquilino Pimentel III, Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan II and Franklin Drilon.

Drilon, chairman of the Senate committee on finance, thanked his colleagues for passing on his 67th birthday the proposed national budget which provides P698.4 billion for social services programs including the P44.25 billion for the conditional cash transfer program.

The budget is also slated to provide P510.9 billion for economic services and P333.9 billion for the debt service.

”The budget is directed to provide funding for public services which would provide more jobs, better education, improved healthcare services and empowerment of the Filipino people in nation building,” Drilon said.

The four days of grueling debates have been focused mostly on the budget allotted for CCT program as well as education and health care program of the governments.

Drilon said the budget, once enacted into law, will continue to invest in social protection package of about 3.8 million indigent families through CCT program whose budget increased from P39.5 billion this year to P44.25 billion in 2013.

Aside from P44.25 billion for CCT program, the GAA of 2013 also provides P12.6 billion for the enrolment in PhilHealth of 5.2 million poor families.

The Senate adopted long list of committee amendments presented by Drilon on the House Bill No. 6455.

Drilon is hoping their House counterparts will adopt the amendments at the bicameral conference committee.

During the individual amendments, Osmena moved for significant reduction of budget allotted for Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority from P353.5 million to P3.5 million.

Drilon opposed the motion, forcing Osmena to move for division of the house where he eventually was outvoted, 4-7.

Osmena also moved for reduction of the proposed budget of Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority from P50 to P10 million and of Bataan Freeport from P100 million to P10 million.

Drilon did not oppose the amendments.

As expected, the Dept. of Education (DepEd) will have the biggest budget amounting to P292.7 billion or 22.6 percent higher than this year’s budget.

Drilon said the bigger budget for DepEd will help boost the K+12 program.

“A P54 billion increase in funding will help address shortages in education resources such as classrooms, teachers and textbooks. It will also support the department's K+12 program,” Drilon said.

The DPWH is second with P152.9 billion, followed by the Department of National Defense (P121.6 billion), DILG (P121.1 billion), DA (P74.1 billion), DOH (P56.8 billion), DSWD (P56.2 billion), DOTC (P37.1 billion), DOF (P33.2 billion), and the DENR (P33.2 billion).

Drilon said the bicameral conference committee will immediately convene to reconcile the Senate and House versions of the bill.

”We expect to send the reconciled version of the general appropriation bill for 2013 and have it signed by the President before Christmas,” Drilon said.

The Senate named Drilon, Angara, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, Lacson on the part of majority and Alan Peter Cayetano and Trillanes on the part of minority as part of the Senate contingent to the bicameral conference committee. (PNA)

HBC/JFM

Comments

3 Responses to “Senate OKs P2.006-T nat'l budget on 3rd and final reading”

  1. Edu on November 28th, 2012 11:56 pm

    Cngrats sa mga na approve na budget. Sana magamit nilang lahat ito sa mabuting paraan at para makatulong sa sambayanan natin.

  2. Clarissa Mae on November 29th, 2012 12:01 am

    ”The budget is directed to provide funding for public services which would provide more jobs, better education, improved healthcare services and empowerment of the Filipino people in nation building,”

    Sounds good naman pala….I hope malaki maging improvement sa country naten next year πŸ™‚

  3. Julian on November 29th, 2012 1:31 am

    I hope they spend our national budget wisely πŸ™‚ Mahigpit yung administration ngayon so matatakot mga yan gumawa ng kapalpakan.