MANILA — The Senate finished early morning Friday its plenary deliberation on the proposed 2023 budget after nearly 2 weeks of marathon debates to scrutinize the spending plan of all government agencies.
The more than 12-hour final session tackled the proposed budgets of the Philippines Statistics Authority, Department of Science and Technology, Congress, Department of Health, National Commission on Senior Citizens, and the Commission on Higher Education.
During the opening of plenary debates on Nov. 8, Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, chairperson of the Committee on Finance, said the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget would be a "reflection of the new administration's thrust."
One of the contentious issues that emerged from the debates was the grant of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) to civilian agencies such as the Department of Education and Office of the Vice President.
The Senate Minority bloc vowed to push for the deletion of the items during the period of amendments.
To allay fears of potential irregularities, the Senate will form an oversight body to monitor the spending of CIFs.
With all proposed budgets "deemed submitted," the Senate is expected to pass House Bill No. 4488 or the 2023 General Appropriations Bill on second and third readings next week.