THE Senate started its plenary debates on the proposed P3.7-trillion national budget for 2018 after Senator Loren Legarda sponsored the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) during the morning session of the chamber.
“Your Committee on Finance has poured into 48 budget hearings, 10 technical working group meetings, several budget briefings, and a comprehensive discussion at the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) level, to assemble the 2018 national budget that I am about to present,” Legarda, chairman of the finance committee, said in her sponsorship speech.
Legarda described the GAB as a national expenditure program touted by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring about inequality-reducing transformation, enhancing the social fabric, and one that would increase the country’s growth potential.
“Your Committee invested in fine-tuning the 2018 General Appropriations Bill has resulted in a budget that considered the wishes of the Executive Branch, yet reflective of what we—who, like the President, have a national constituency—feel daily as we keep in touch with the pulse of the people,’ Legarda said.
Under the proposed 2018 budget, unprogrammed appropriations or those subject to availability of funds amount to P75.340 billion while total new appropriations is at P2.861 trillion. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA