(UPDATE) THE Senate approved on the third and final reading the proposed P5.268 trillion 2023 national budget, the first appropriations measure of the Marcos administration.

After almost two weeks of marathon hearings, the Senate on Wednesday approved its version of the 2023 national budget.

The senators moved to approve House Bill (HB) 4488, the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), after they passed it on second reading.

The members of the bicameral conference committee tasked to finetune HB 4488 will meet on Friday.

The Senate bicam contingent is composed of Senators Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Pilar Juliana "Pia" Cayetano, Lorna Regina "Loren" Legarda, Maria Josefa Imelda "Imee" Marcos, Cynthia Villar, Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, Sherwin Gatchalian, Christopher Lawrence "Bong" Go, Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros, Maria Lourdes "Nancy" Binay, Mary Grace Poe, Francis Tolentino, Mark Villar, Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis "Chiz" Escudero, and Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada.

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Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, said that the 2023 budget addresses the needs of the people post-pandemic and supports the goal of ensuring food security, reviving education, and preparing the country for the impacts of climate change, among other things.

This includes the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), Protective Services to Individuals in Crisis Situations, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers Program (Tupad) and the Sustainable Livelihood Program.

"The bicameral conference committee meetings will commence on Friday, where the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives will work to come up with a reconciled version of the General Appropriations Bill," he said.