• Palace seeks swift passage of 2018 national budget

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    MALACANANG asked the Senate on Thursday to hasten the passage of the proposed P3.767-trillion 2018 national budget, which is seen critical in supporting the Duterte administration’s ambitious plans for the country.

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    Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella issued the statement a day after the Senate received House Bill 6215 or the 2018 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) from the House of Representatives.

    “We hope that the Senate can swiftly approve its own version of the proposed bill on the national budget so that our lawmakers can start working to harmonize their versions of the bill when a bicameral conference committee is convened,” Abella said during a press conference.

    Duterte submitted the proposed 2018 budget to Congress on his second State of the Nation Address held on July 24.

    The proposed budget for 2018 is 12.4 percent higher than the P3.35-trillion budget allocated this year.

    “The submission of the proposed P3.767-trillion budget last July 24 marks the first time since the administration of former [President] Fidel V. Ramos that the budget proposal is submitted on the day of the President’s State of the Nation Address,” Abella said.

    “The rationale behind this (submission of 2018 budget on July 24) is to give Congress ample time to review the budget and early time to approve it,” he added.

    Abella said the proposed 2018 budget would help improve the lives of the Filipino people.

    “Through our 2018 National Budget, we hope to lay down the foundation for a Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay, as anchored on our Philippine Development Plan ‎2017-2022,” he said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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