MANILA, November 24, 2016 (PNA) — Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Thursday said that he expects the Senate to pass the proposed 2017 national budget of P3.35 trillion on its third and final reading on Monday, November 28.
“We hope that by Monday it’s approved on its third and final reading. That’s the plan,” Pimentel told reporters, admitting that it was already one week late.
Last October 19, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the proposed national budget for 2017.
A bicameral committee meeting is expected to begin this month, followed by the budget approval before Congress goes on Christmas break in December.
“Definitely there will be differences in the bicam,” Pimentel said but expressed hope the provisions would be quickly ironed out.
He said that although the approval of the budget would come in late, “it is better to have an improved budget though late than a budget with a lot of questionable items.”
The proposed P3.35-trillion national budget for 2017 is 11.6-percent higher than the P3.002-trillion budget for 2016.
It represents 20.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, higher than the 20.1 percent GDP share this year.
According to the National Expenditure Program (NEP), social services will have the highest share of the budget in terms of budget distribution by sector at 40 percent. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)