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MANILA, Philippines - With the budget of most government agencies breezing through plenary deliberations, the House of Representatives is expected to approve on second reading the P2.006-trillion proposed 2013 national budget Thursday.
Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said lawmakers will stay up to late tonight to finish discussions on the remaining departments, including those with huge appropriations, such as the Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
DepEd topped the agency that will get the biggest budget with P292.7 billion, while the DSWD will get P56.2 billion.
Along with the two departments, the House will finish deliberation on the budget of the Department of Energy, Department of Finance and its attached agencies, National Economic Development Authority, Department of Budget and Managements, and other executive offices, including the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Debates are expected to ensue when the lump-sum funds are tackled after the budget of the agencies. Earlier, several lawmakers questioned the creation of the Priority Social and Economic Projects Fund (PSEPF), which had an allocation of P22.4 billion withheld from various agencies.
Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya, chairman of the appropriations committee, said the Department of Budget and Management will revert to the agencies their respective budget once they have submitted the project details.
After passing the budget on second reading, the House will create a small committee to accept the individual amendments of lawmakers. On October 8 when Congress resumes session, the chamber is expected to pass the budget on third reading, according to Gonzales.
Congress goes on break on September 22.