To fasttrack the passage of its version of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget next year, senators will hold a caucus Monday whether it would hold floor deliberations from Monday to Friday.
This was revealed Saturday by Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III during a radio interview where he described House of Representatives Speaker Lord Allan Velasco as ‘’very good’’ for having the House version of the General Appropriations Bill approved and transmitted early to the Senate.
Velasco had assured the Senate that the House GAB is ‘’pork barrel’’ free.
On Monday, Sotto said the Senate might also take up an urgent administration bill, Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, and might possibly pass it on second and third reading.
Sen. Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, is scheduled to sponsor on Tuesday budgets of government agencies assigned to him for interpellation and amendments.
He will be followed by the chairmen of the 10 Senate Finance sub-committees.
There will be no committee hearings during the floor debate on the budget.
The Senate expects to pass its own GAB on the first week of December after which a Senate and House bicameral conference committee panels will be formed and their members will sit down and iron out differing provisions of their budget bills.
During the bicameral conference committee meetings, most members of the Senate and House meet to discuss other pending bills, Sotto said.
Leaders of both chambers expect the approval of their GABs and send it to President Duterte for approval or veto before their Christmas break.