08 November 2010
Phlippine's defense budget 2005-2011 (image : Defense Studies)
The Senate has vowed to approve the P1.645 trillion national budget for 2011 before year-end, ensuring that the government will not operate on a reenacted budget that would cause further delays in priority projects of President Aquino's administration.
Senator Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said committee deliberations for the proposed 2011 outlay have been terminated already, with plenary discussions on the budget measure set to start when lawmakers resume session on November 8.
"We expect the General Appropriations Bill to be in the Senate the week of November 8-12. We will have a week from the 15th to the 22nd of November to review it," Drilon said, adding that the chamber may conduct a hearing to discuss how the House of Representatives reshaped the budget bill before they prepare a committee report.
"I would target that we would be sponsoring the budget about the third week of November," Drilon said.
Congress is currently on a three-week break that started last October 16. He said the budget bill will be a "priority" of the chamber to meet the Christmas break that starts on December 18.
Plenary debates will be finished before the end of November and the budget measure will be approved on second and third reading by December 1 or 2, Drilon said.
A bicameral conference committee will be convened on December 6 to tackle disagreements in the House and Senate versions of the budget, he added.
"We are confident that we are going to meet the deadline. We are confident that by mid-December, we shall be able to approve the bicameral committee report on the General Appropriations Act of 2011, so that by January 1, 2011, we will have a new budget," said Drilon.
The Senate Finance Committee will exercise its oversight functions to closely monitor the 2011 outlay and prevent fund misuse just like what happened in the Arroyo administration, Drilon said.
New appropriations will make up P971 billion--P806.7 billion of which will go to the departments and P164.2 billion to special purpose funds. Automatic appropriations totaled P674 billion.
A total of P207.3 billion was allocated for education, P110.6 billion for public works, P104.7 billion for defense, P88.2 billion for interior and local government, P37.7 billion for agriculture, P34.3 billion for social welfare, P33.3 billion for health, P32.2 billion for transportation and communications, P16.7 billion for agrarian reform, and P14.3 billion for the judiciary.