The Senate Concludes Plenary Debates on 2024 Proposed P5.768-Trillion Budget
On Tuesday, November 21, the Senate ended the plenary debates on the proposed P5.768-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2024 at 4:42 a.m.
Following the conclusion of the debates, Senators posed for a photo to commemorate the end of the long period of discussions, which began at 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023.
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, indicated that he will introduce amendments to the measure before it is approved on second, and then third and final reading.
During the nine-day marathon hearings on the budget, highlights included Vice President Sara Duterte’s decision to drop proposed confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education (DepEd) worth P650 million combined. Additionally, the Senate decreased the proposed confidential funds of the Office of the Ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Other agencies that dropped their request for confidential funds included the Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
Once approved on third and final reading by the Senate, members of the Senate and the House of Representatives will convene the bicameral conference committee to tackle the disagreeing provisions of the 2024 GAB. Following this, both Houses will ratify the final version of the GAB and submit the document to Malacañang for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s signature.
In his sponsorship speech earlier, Angara highlighted that next year’s budget will continue to fund the Marcos government’s flagship programs such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Build Better More program, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, and the Tulong Trabaho Act. The Senate finance chief also mentioned that the Upper Chamber is aiming to achieve the final approval of the measure in the first or second week of December.