Senate to begin debates on 2013 national budget-A A +A
Sunday, August 5, 2012
SENATORS will hold hearings beginning on Monday on the proposed P2.006-trillion national budget for next year to ensure its passage before yearend, Senate finance committee chairman Franklin Drilon said.
The budget season will kick off with a two-day briefing by the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) on macro-economic targets, revenue generation and expenditure programs in 2013.
The DBCC, which prepares the national budget, is composed of the Secretaries of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as chairman and of the Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) as members.
The Office of the President is also a member, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) serves as a resource body.
After the DBCC are hearings of the finance sub-committees on the proposed budgets of various national government departments, as well as of government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) starting Wednesday with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) being the first to be grilled.
The Comelec earlier slammed the DBM for trimming its budget from the proposed P24 billion to only P8 billion to conduct the midterm and barangay elections to be held in May and October 2013, respectively.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes said the budget is not enough considering payment to teachers and the military who will be tapped to ensure peaceful elections.
But Malacañang said the Comelec has enough savings to bankroll operations after it decided to buy over 80,000 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that were used in the 2010 presidential election.
President Benigno Aquino III has since promised to act as mediator to resolve the impasse.
Expected to get attention as well is the conditional cash transfer – the administration's flagship poverty alleviation program - because of its huge allocation.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will get P44.26 billion to implement the CCT in 2013, an increase of 12.2 percent from this year's allocation of P39.45 billion.
The hearings by the sub-committees are expected to last until end of October creating ample time for plenary deliberations by November, said Drilon.
He said Congress will be able to pass the budget before December 31, a trend, which began on Aquino's assumption to power in 2010. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)