Press Release
January 29, 2008

Fast Ok of budget a proof of Senate industry and independence - Villar

Senate President Manny Villar today hailed the speedy approval of 2008 national budget "as a testament to Senate industry and the amendments therein a proof of Senate independence."

"The approved budget is the product of a multitasking Senate, one that passes laws with the same vigor it probes anomalies," Villar said.

Despite the "constitutionally designed arrangement" that the Senate can only begin plenary debates on the budget after it has been approved by the House, Villar noted that the Senate was able to pass this year's P1.227 trillion national budget before 2007 ended.

This was made possible, he said, through the parallel hearings conducted by the Senate finance committee, chaired by Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, while House deliberations were still going on in the last quarter of last year.

"The Senate hearings and debate while regimented were rigorous. We did not sacrifice thoroughness for speed," he said.

Villar said senators "on both sides of aisle worked hard" to improve the Malacañang-proposed budget, "affirming the good, but revamping items which we believe need changes."

Villar said the early signing by President Arroyo of the budget - not later than a month after approval by both chambers of the Bicameral Conference Report - will ensure that projects authorized in the spending measure will be started early.

"The government will be able to take advantage then of the good weather that leads to summer," he said.

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