Press Release
May 11, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, reaffirms his commitment to hasten the passage of the proposed P1.053 trillion 2006 national budget when Senate resumes its session on Monday (May 15), to make up for the delay it suffered in the House of Representatives, which worked on the budget for eight months.

"We are almost halfway through May and yet the budget for this year is still not approved. In two months or so, the national budget for 2007 would already be presented. So it would really be ridiculous if by then, the 2006 budget is still up in the air, so to speak," say Villar.

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.

The Lower House, on the other hand, took eight months in deliberating over the budget. The budget was submitted to them as early as August 2005. It turned over its approved version of the budget a day or two before the Congress adjourned for its Lenten break in April. "The Senate cannot formally deliberate on the budget until is turned over to us by the Lower House," cites Villar.

Villar adds, "As far as the Senate is concerned, we have not been remiss with our duties in hastening the approval of the budget. We have been doing marathon sessions, as a Committee of the Whole, since the third quarter of last year. When the budget was handed to us, there was no opportunity to convene a bicameral conference anymore because recess has begun."

This year marks the third year in a row that the national budget has been delayed. Under the proposed 2006 national budget, the Department of Education gets the lion's share with P119.1 billion. The Department of Public Works and Highways takes the second largest allocation with P62.3 billion, followed by National Defense with P46.6 billion, Department of Interior and Local government P45.6 billion and Department of Agriculture with P15.6 billion, Department of Transportation and Communications P14.3 billion. The Department of Health will get P10.6 billion and as in previous years debt service payments corner 33% or one-third of the budget with P340 billion.

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