THE SENATE and the House of Representatives convened on Tuesday the bicameral conference committee on the proposed P3.757 trillion national budget this year, targeting its approval by Feb. 6 and President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s signature on Feb. 14, Senator Loren B. Legarda said in a statement.
Ms. Legarda, who heads the Senate committee on finance, said that the bicameral panel will use the 2019 National Expenditure Program (NEP) as point of reference, but will also consider the House and Senate versions of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
“The Senate and the House have agreed to use the NEP as reference and meet halfway on the amendments of the respective chambers. We are all representatives of the people and we will ensure that the 2019 national budget will address the needs of the people, especially the poor and vulnerable,” she said.
“We hope to be able to immediately reconcile the differences between the House and Senate version so that we may approve the budget within the remaining session days that we have. This is very important because the passage of our national budget every year comes with the hope of achieving real lasting growth for Filipinos,” Ms. Legarda also said.
The bicameral meeting was attended by Ms. Legarda, Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators JV Ejercito and Nancy Binay for the Senate panel, and Congressmen Rolando Andaya Jr., Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Arthur Yap, Edcel Lagman, Maria Carmen Zamora, Rodante Marcoleta, Federico Sandoval II, and Anthony Bravo for the House panel.