By Mario Casayuran
The Senate minority bloc gave on Wednesday its approval to the proposed P6 billion budget of the Office of the President for the 2018 fiscal budget.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon said he was not raising issues against the President’s budget “out of inter- departmental courtesy.’’
This took place in Wednesday’s plenary debate on the proposed 2018 P3.76 trillion national budget which is being shepherded through the Senate floor for approval by Sen. Loren Legarda, chairwoman of the Senate finance committee.
After no interpellation was made to indicate objection to the President’s budget, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto immediately deemed the President’s budget submitted for approval.
The Senate expressed hopes of approving its version of the 2018 GAA before it goes on a month-long recess starting this Saturday.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives are expected to iron out their differing versions of the national budget through the bicameral conference committee process when they resume regular session on Nov. 13.
During a recent budget hearing by Legarda, the Senate minority bloc succeeded in convincing Malacanang to set aside separate funds for its six intelligence-oriented agencies from its P2.5 billion confidential and intelligence budgets after the country has been blind-sided by national and foreign security incidents.
These included the Maute invasion of Marawi city, piracy at the Sulu Sea and the West Philippine intrusions and the P6.4 billion shabu (crystal meths) smuggling last May, Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV said.
This followed the approval by the Legarda committee of Malacanang’s proposed 2018 P2.5 billion intelligence and confidential funds tacked in the proposed P6 billion budget for the office of the President.
The proposed P6 billion budget for next fiscal year is P14.1 billion less than the current P20.17 billion budget because the 2017 budget included the P14.1 billion appropriation set aside for the holding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) foundation rites.
Tags: fiscal budget, Franklin M. Drilon, Loren Legarda, Manila Bulletin, national budget, Office of the President, President’s budget, Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senate finance committee, Senate minority leader