The Philippines: Senate to finish debates on budget

  • The Senate will hold sessions on 16 and 17 Nov 17 to try to finish plenary debates on the proposed PHP3.7tr national budget for 2018 to make up for lost session days owing to the country’s hosting of the ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings.
  • Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the chamber aims to end interpellations on the proposed budget this week and proceed to approving it next week.
  • “Budget interpellations should be finished by 17 Nov 17,” Pimentel told reporters, adding the proposed spending program should be approved by the Senate by 22 Nov 17.
  • After passage of the budget, the senators will deliberate on the proposed Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), a priority fiscal measure of the Duterte administration.
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the ways and means committee, earlier said it would be difficult but the Senate will try to pass the TRAIN before 2017-end.
  • Angara said many of his colleagues have been submitting proposed amendments to the tax measure that is projected to raise some PHP148bn in revenues.
  • Angara said the realistic timetable is for the Senate to pass the TRAIN in Jan 18.

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