Press Release
May 30, 2006


With all the budgets of the various departments and agencies deemed submitted, the Senate after discussing and finalizing their amendments to the proposed P1.053 trillion 2006 national budget in a caucus, is ready for a face-off with the House of Representatives for the bicameral conference. Thus says Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

"The senators will have a final look on all the amendments that we have made on the House-approved version of the budget. Only after discussing everything can we finalize the final form of the Senate version of the 2006 national budget," says Villar.

According to Villar, "The budget deliberations are running smoothly, there are no major glitches. Given the limited period allotted to us to pass the budget, we are on track. We would definitely have the bicameral conference next week before the adjournment sine die."

Due to the delayed transmittal of the 2006 budget of the Lower House to the Senate, the senators were given only four weeks to pass the budget. The Lower House took over eight months from August 24, 2005 to April 5, 2006 to approve the budget.

Villar sponsored the proposed budget 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). Only four departments budgets are left unapproved: Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and Department of Energy (DoE)

Villar preferred not to comment on how the scheduled bicameral conference next week would proceed. "It's hard to say what will happen during the bicameral conference and how long it will take. The bicam can take as short as one day or as long as year, it all depends on the parties involved in the discussion," adds Villar.

Among the 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.

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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