Senate sets third week of November as target for passing budget measure

THE SENATE is confident of passing its version of the proposed P5.268-trillion budget for 2023 by the third week of November, with the conclusion of budget hearings as scheduled.

“I am grateful to all our hard-working Senators for ably steering their respective sub-committees, and for keeping us on track with our budget timeline,” Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri told reporters in a Viber message on Monday.

“With everyone (bringing) the same work ethic and urgency to the plenary, we expect to spend about two weeks in marathon deliberations, and we hope to be able to approve the budget as early as the third week of November,” he added.

The chamber hopes to wrap up plenary debate by mid-November for passage on final reading by the following week. The rest of the year is expected to be taken up by the bicameral conference committee before the harmonized legislation is sent for the President’s signature by mid-December.

“I am very glad to report that the Senate is fully on track with the budget schedule that we have laid out,” Mr. Zubiri said.

“Over the course of the hearings, our sub-committees carefully combed over our agencies’ programs and spending vis-à-vis the proposed P5.268-trillion budget, to ensure that the 4.9% increase from this year’s budget is warranted and is crucial to the country’s continued recovery from the pandemic,” he added.

He said when sessions resume in November, the committee report will be sponsored promptly to immediately kick off further deliberations at plenary level.

Plenary sessions adjourned on Oct. 1 and are scheduled to resume on Nov. 7. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan