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Senate budget debates cut short by Typhoon Ulysses

/ 06:08 PM November 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The threat of Typhoon Ulysses prompted the Senate to shorten its plenary budget debates on Wednesday.

In the middle of deliberations, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri alerted his colleagues about the suspension of work in some government offices due to the approaching typhoon.

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“Do we soldier on? Actually, I’m worried about our staff in the Senate building,” Zubiri said.

“We’d just like to know, what’s the pleasure of the body on this particular issue out of compassion to our workers,” he added.

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READ: Palace suspends gov’t’, office work, classes in Metro Manila, regions due to Ulysses

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon suggested suspending the session early to allow employees in the Senate building to go home.

“I think there is no harm in suspending the deliberations today. Not because of us because we are in the safety of our homes, but of our staff including the LBRMO (Legislative Budget Research and Monitoring Office) and other staff in the Senate. I think it will not harm us if we allow our staff to go home already,” Drilon said.

“This is a fortuitous event, we didn’t expect this. We are prepared to work until tonight but given these circumstances, I think it’s best that we allow our people to go home and resume again tomorrow,” he added.

In the end, senators agreed to suspend the plenary debates until Thursday, Nov. 12 at 2 p.m.

The chamber, however, will make a final decision by Thursday morning on whether to push through with the debates depending on the weather.

Before suspending the session, budgets of over 30 departments and agencies were “deemed submitted” since no senator intended to raise questions or concerns over them.

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These include the proposed budgets of the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President, attached agencies of the Department of Science and Technology—except for the Office of the Secretary—and the attached agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment—except for the Office of the Secretary, Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.

Also among the 30 agencies are:

  • State universities and colleges except for the University of the Philippines
  • National Intelligence Coordinating Agency
  • Dangerous Drugs Board
  • Optical Media Board
  • Movie and Television Review and Classification Board
  • Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
  • Presidential Legislative Liaison Office
  • Energy Regulatory Commission
  • National Historical Commission
  • Commission on Filipino Language
  • Commission on Filipinos Overseas
  • Philippine Competition Commission
  • Philippine Racing Commission
  • Climate Change Commission
  • National Library
  • National Archives
  • Cultural Center of the Philippines
  • Development Academy of the Philippines
  • Office of the President
  • Presidential Management Staff
  • Philippine Guarantee Corporation
  • Philippine Postal Corporation
  • Credit Information Corporation
  • Philippine Space Agency
  • Center for Economic Development
  • Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council
  • Mindanao Development Authority
  • Southern Philippines Development Authority
  • Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority
  • Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan
  • Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
  • Cagayan Economic Zone Authority
  • Zamboanga City Special Economic Zone Authority

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TAGS: budget debates, Nation, News, Senate, Typhoon Ulysses
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