Press Release
May 25, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, who is at the helm of the deliberation in the Senate of the General Appropriations Bill or the proposed 2006 national budget, says that the plenary discussion is running smoothly so far.

According to Villar, "We are on track as far as the schedule of plenary debate is concerned. So we are confident that the Senate will meet its target date of approving the budget. We can wrap up the plenary discussion by Tuesday (May 30)."

Villar sponsored the proposed P1.053-trillion budget for this year on Monday (May 22). The following day, plenary discussions ensued as well as the meeting of the member-departments of the Development and Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC).

As of Thursday morning (May 25), the budgets of the following departments and agencies are deemed submitted: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Justice (DoJ), Office of the President, Other Executive Offices (MTRCB, OMB, PSC, SEC, etc.), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Office of the Press Secretary, the Judiciary, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), state universities and colleges, Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agrarian Reform.

Among proposed cuts in the Senate version of the 2006 budget are as follows: deletion of the Kilos Asenso Support Fund (P3 billion); deletion of Kalayaan Barangay Program Fund (P3.69 billion); deletion of P13.1 billion Compensation Adjustment Fund; deletion of P10 billion for the incentive package for employees availing of the Rationalization Program under the Pension and Gratuity Fund; deletion of the entire budget of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (P65.53 million); cut of P2.72 billion from the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) budget; etc.

"All of the proposed amendments and realignment of funds will be discussed and decided upon by all the senators. The proposals of all the senators will be entertained until we reach a consensus. Some of the slashed funds, for instance, will be transferred to government departments or agencies which deserve additional budget," cites Villar.

Other Senate amendments include: increase of P350 million to the Department of Health (DoH) budget; increase of P100 million to the Commission of Higher Education (CHED); increase of P100 million to the University of the Philippines (UP); increase of P50 million under the Agriculture of Fisheries Modernization Program for the Young Farmers Program; etc.

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