Press Release
September 8, 2008

Senate will scrutinize P1.4 trillion proposed budget, says Villar

Senate President Manny Villar today said the Senate will scrutinize the proposed budget for 2009 to see to it that no dubious funds will be approved in the P1.4 trillion budget proposal.

"As guardians of public funds, we in the Senate will see to it that the proposed P1.4 trillion national budget for 2009 will pass through a fine-toothed comb to make sure that no public money will go to wasteful and questionable projects that will only fatten the pockets of grafters in government," Villar said.

Villar, also the Nacionalista Party president, vowed that the "Senate will remain fiercely-independent of Malacañang and will be ready to perform the laborious task of scanning the budget to the last minute detail."

"We will make sure that the Senate will pass a budget that is lean, public service-oriented and will benefit the poorest of the poor, that much neglected sector composed of Filipinos who have less in life and should get government support more," the former Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said.

Villar said he is confident that with the expertise and probity of Finance Committee Chair Juan Ponce Enrile, the strict scrutiny and timely passage of the budget bill is ensured.

On Monday, the Development Budget Coordinating Council headed by Department of Budget and Management Sec. Rolando Andaya, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Armando Tetangco, Department of Finance Sec. Gary Teves and National Economic Development Authority Dir-Gen. Ralph Recto presented to the Senate the proposed General Appropriations Act of 2009.

Like any matter being deliberated in the Senate, Villar said the budget scrutiny will be done "with utmost transparency and with all stakeholders adequately consulted."

He also said non-government organizations such as the Alternative Budget Initiative, Action for Economic Reforms and the Freedom from Debt Coalition, among others, are welcome to take part in the Senate budget hearings.

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