Press Release
February 28, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, reiterated that the passage of a national budget for this year remains the top priority of the Senate and the Committee of the Whole has finished reviewing majority of the government departments and agencies.

According to Villar, "As it is, the budget is long overdue, another month has ended, the Lower House still has not turned it over to us. Everyone knows that we in the Senate cannot formally deliberate on the budget until is turned over to us. Thus, the best we can do was to fast track the review of the budgets of all government departments and agencies. The ball is not in our court. We are always ready for action."

Villar adds, "I have always mentioned that the national budget should not be linked or lumped with other issues, especially political ones. We will not let the political hullabaloo to derail the budget deliberation. As far as the Senate is concerned, we are not remiss with our duties in hastening the budget approval process."

To recall, late last year, the Senate convened into a Committee of the Whole to fast-track the review of the budget in the committee level so when it is time for plenary discussions, the major issues or concerns of the senators would have been addressed already.

"Up to now, plenary discussions of the budget in the Lower House have not started yet. In an ideal scenario, the national budget should have passed before the end of the previous year. But since it is delayed already, at least before the end of March or within the first quarter, the budget should be approved. Beyond March, it's definitely too late already, there would be a lot of speculations already about the real cause of the delay on their part," cites Villar.

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