THE Senate received House Bill No. 6215 or the 2018 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) from the House of Representatives as both chambers hope to pass the proposed P3.767 trillion before December 25.
Sen. Loren Legarda, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said she was ready to sponsor the 2018 GAB next week if the panel’s subcommittees would submit their respective reports this week.
“Upon submission of the subcommittee reports of my vice chairpersons, we will file and sponsor the committee report next week,” she said on Wednesday.
Senators Panfilo Lacson, Juan Edgardo Angara, Francis Escudero, and Joseph Victor Ejercito chaired the finance panel’s subcommittees.
“We will conduct marathon sessions so we can finish the budget interpellations of all agencies before session adjourns on October 12 for a one-month break,” Legarda said.
She said that the Senate would be able to approve the GAB on second and third reading upon resumption of session in November, to be followed by the convening of the bicameral conference committee so that the Senate and the House could reconcile the differences in their respective versions of the proposed 2018 national budget worth P3.767 trillion.
“We aim to submit the 2018 GAB to the President on the second week of December and, hopefully, enacted way ahead before Christmas,” Legarda said.
This way, agencies would have time to plan the execution of approved projects and programs before the holidays. Hopefully, this would help in the early disbursement of funds and a more efficient obligation,” she added. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO