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Bicam meeting on 2015 nat'l budget set Wednesday

The bicameral conference committee meeting for the disagreeing provisions of the proposed Php 2.606 trillion national budget for 2015 has been set for Wednesday, Bicolano Senate finance committee Chairman Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero said on Monday.

Escudero, in his media advisory, said the bicam meeting would be held at the Andaya Hall in the House of Representatives beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The Senate passed on third and final reading the proposed national budget last week with ‘substantial amendments’ introduced by the upper chamber of Congress.

Meanwhile, the Senate approved on Monday the appointment of Escudero and six other senators, including two from minority bloc, as the Senate representatives to the bicam panel.

Aside from Escudero, the other senators appointed as representatives to the bicam included Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Sergio Osmena III, Loren Legarda and Teofisto Guingona III from majority group, and acting minority leader Vicente Sotto III and minority member Joseph Victor Ejercito.

Based on its approved version, the Senate realigned a total of Php 96.58-billion from programmed and unprogrammed appropriations within and between agencies.

The Senate’s realigned fund is far higher compared to the House of Representatives’ Php 19 billion realignments.

Escudero also said the Senate redefined the savings in accordance with the Supreme Court (SC) rulings on the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) and Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

Escudero hopes that both the Senate and the House will ratify bicam-approved version and submit it to Malacanang before Congress takes Christmas break on Dec. 17. (PNA)

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