THE Senate’s P5.768-trillion national budget bill has been sponsored out for plenary debate, with the chamber expected to pass the spending plan by the end of the month.
At Tuesday’s plenary session, Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said social amelioration programs and the flagship infrastructure programs will be amply funded next year.
In his sponsorship speech, he said the budget bill was prepared in accordance with the administration’s eight-point near-term socioeconomic agenda and the medium-term fiscal framework.
“We believe that despite some limitations, the budget meets this benchmark,” Mr. Angara said. “And with our collective improvements and amendments, we have endeavored to make it even better.”
House Bill 8980, the other chamber’s budget bill, was turned over to the Senate on Nov. 4, with the House of Representatives having approved its measure on Sept. 27.
Next year’s budget is 9.5% higher than this year’s and is equivalent to 21.7% of gross domestic product.
A Bicameral Conference Committee is expected to reconcile the two bills over the remainder of the year before it goes before President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. for signing.
“The 2024 budget will also pursue initiatives that enhance the global competitiveness and attractiveness to investors of our economy, aiming in particular to resolve the challenges our industries face in terms of expensive electricity and inadequate infrastructure,” Mr. Angara said. — John Victor D. Ordoñez