Press Release
March 15, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says that the Senate panel for the bicameral meeting on the supplemental budget, that would provide for a P2,000 increase in the monthly allowance of around 1.2 million government workers, is just waiting for the House of Representatives to create its team in order to start the bicameral meeting.

We have yet to hear from the Lower House, they have yet to form a list of conferees to the bicameral meeting. We have passed the amended version of the bill that originated from them a week ago already. The ball is in their court now, so to speak, says Villar, President of the Nacionalista Party.

The Senate voted 14 to 3 on March 8 (Wednesday) and passed on third and final reading an amended version of House Bill 5013, which would provide for a P2,000 increase in the monthly allowance of government employees and additional subsistence allowance of the military and uniformed personnel.

The approved amount is double the P1,000 increase, retroactive from January 1, issued by President Arroyo under Administrative Order 144 on February 28. The Senate bill, once signed into law, would provide a P2,000 salary increase for government employees starting in July and would effectively repeal A.O. 144.

We hope we can start the bicam and pass into law the P2,000 salary increase before the Senate adjourns on the second week of next month. In fact, even the 2006 national budget is still with the Lower House, they have not officially transmitted it to us yet and we are on the second half of March already, cites Villar.

Villar further cites, If they hand the budget over to us before we adjourn next month, we have around 4 weeks to approve it. If they fail to finish it before adjournment sine die in May, then most likely we will not have a new budget this year. It would be ridiculous to still be deliberating on the 2006 budget when the 2007 budget would already be presented in the state-of-the-nation address (SONA) of the President.

The members of the Senate Panel for the bicameral meeting on House Bill 5013 are Senators Villar, Ralph Recto and Jinggoy Estrada.

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