Senate to ratify 2024 budget on Monday, says Senate president

Senate to ratify 2024 budget on Monday, says Senate president

THE PHILIPPINE SENATE will ratify the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 budget on Monday, before Congress adjourns this week for the Christmas holiday, according to the Senate president.

“We’re ratifying the budget tomorrow. Confirmed,” Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri told reporters in a Viber message on Sunday.

Philippine lawmakers started reconciling disagreeing provisions of the budget bill on Nov. 30. Congress will adjourn on Dec. 16 for a month-long break. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is expected to sign the measure before his trip to Japan this month.

Mr. Marcos is set to attend the 50th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Japan Friendship and Cooperation commemorative summit from Dec. 16 to 18.

The Senate on Nov. 28 approved on final reading its version of the budget bill, with senators boosting the budgets of defense agencies amid increasing tensions with China.

Senators had also approved the National Economic and Development Authority’s request to establish an innovation revolving fund that will provide grants to innovation programs and projects.

Lawmakers did not see any provisions that were “too contentious” during their bicameral meetings, the Office of Party-List Rep. Elizaldy S. Co, who heads the House committee on appropriations, told BusinessWorld in a Viber message on Dec. 5.

Senator Juan Edgardo M. Angara, who heads the Senate finance committee, earlier said lawmakers were unlikely to restore the confidential funds sought by civilian agencies, noting that the Senate had followed the House in transferring these to security agencies.

Meanwhile, senators are also expected to ratify the 2019 International Labor Organization (ILO) convention to eliminate workplace violence and harassment on Monday, Mr. Zubiri told BusinessWorld in a separate Viber message.

The Philippines will be the first country in Southeast Asia to ratify the global treaty, which seeks to protect both informal and formal sector workers.

Last month, Mr. Marcos asked the Senate to ratify ILO Convention 190, citing the need for zero tolerance for violence and harassment against members of the Philippine workforce.

The treaty was adopted during the general conference in Geneva in June 2019. — John Victor D. Ordoñez