Enrile optimistic to finish budget deliberation ahead of schedule PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 28 November 2010 00:00

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Thursday expressed optimism that the Senate will be able to finish ahead of schedule the period of interpellation on the proposed P1.645 trillion national budget for 2011.

”I think we are ahead of schedule,” Enrile said during a break of the ongoing budget deliberations which started last Wednesday.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada agreed with Enrile that the Senate is on the right track to approve the General Appropriations bill on December 1.

”We’re still on time. Hopefully we’ll finish by first week of December,” said Estrada.

The Senate has to use morning sessions until December 1 to assure that the national budget will be approved before Congress takes recess for Christmas on December 17.

Although it took them almost the whole day of Wednesday to scrutinize the first department on deck which is the Department of Education, the senators eventually submitted for consideration the P231.680 billion for education which has the highest allocation.

Despite so much time consumed for DepEd alone, the Senate was able to finish the period of interpellation for the line departments scheduled Wednesday until 2:30 a.m.

These are the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of Finance as well as the budget of National Economic and Development Authority and Joint Legislative-Executive Council.

As expected, the Senate approved without cut the total P7 billion budget of Congress composed of the Senate, Senate Electoral Tribunal, Commission on Appointments, House of Representatives, House Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Appointments.

Aside from Congress, the Senate finished on Thursday the period of interpellation for Office of the President, Office of the Vice President, the Judiciary, Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Presidential Communications Operations Office (formerly Office of the Press Secretary).

”We have only two departments on deck today which are the transportation and communications department and the Department of Tourism,” Enrile said.

In an effort to support the plans and programs of Vice President Jejomar Binay, the Senate returned the original budget of the Office of the Vice President to P193.6 million from the Malacanang-slashed budget of P177 million.

The Senate did touch the P929.6 million budget of the PCOO which has seven attached agencies that include PCOO proper, Bureau of Broadcast Services, Bureau of Communications Services, National Printing Office, News and Information Bureau, Philippine Information Agency and Presidential Broadcast Staff or RTVM.