MANILA, Philippines—The Senate on Wednesday evening passed on third and final reading the P2-trillion budget for 2013, and President Aquino, according to Senator Franklin Drilon, is expected to sign it before Christmas.
With a vote of 14-1 , the Senate passed the 2013 budget, which is 10.5 percent higher than the 2012 budget of P1.816 trillion. Senator Joker Arroyo registered the lone dissenting vote
Drilon said the budget will next be taken up in a bicameral conference, which he expects to be convened next week.
He said that he does not think the budget will encounter much difficulty in the bicameral committee since there was not much substantial difference between the version of the Senate and that of the House.
“There are no major differences between (the two versions) and no major individual amendments,” Drilon told reporters.
“The proceedings will be open to the public. We expect to send the reconciled version of budget and have it signed before Christmas,” he added.
The P2-trillion budget l allocates P698.4 billion for social services, P510.9 billion for economic services, and P333.9 billion for debt servicing.
The Department of Education (DepEd) has the biggest budget allocation with P292.7 billion, 22.6 percent higher than the 2012 budget.
The Department of Public Works and Highways comes second with P152.9 billion followed by the Department of National Defense with P121.6 billion.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government has an allotment of P121.1 billion; Agriculture, P74.1 billion; Health, P56.8 billion; Social Welfare and Development, P56.2 billion; Transportation and Communications, P37.1 billion; Finance, P33.2 billion; and Environment and Natural Resources, P23.7 billion.