President to sign budget before Christmas

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The 2014 national budget will be approved by Congress and signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd before December 23, a lawmaker said on Sunday.

Rep. Isidro Ungab of Davao City, the House Committee on Appropriations chairman, said the P2.268-trillion General Appropriations Act is expected to hurdle the bicameral committee meeting before Congress takes its Christmas break on December 23.

The President will sign the budget two days before Christmas, just in time for its effectivity on January 1.

Ungab said they have no objections to opening the bicameral committee deliberations to the public as a response to an online petition in Change.Org calling for transparency.


“No problem, we have nothing to hide. We support the government’s campaign for more transparency,” he said.

Ungab and his counterpart, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Francis Escudero, said the bicam panel will meet on Tuesday at the Senate and on Wednesday at the House.

Ungab said the Congress is finishing the reports for the bicameral committee meeting.

“Both House and Senate staff are working overtime to finish the inputs for bicameral conference committee. They are actually almost done and could finish it by Monday so we can proceed with the bicameral conference committee meeting on Tuesday,” Ungab said.

The lawmakers want to create a P15-billion to P20-billion fund for the rehabilitation of areas ravaged by Super Typhoon Yolanda. It will be on top of the P14.6-billion supplemental budget sourced from the unused Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.

The House passed the supplemental budget but the Senate has yet to finalize its own version.

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