A P60-billion budget for the salary hike of military and uniformed personnel (MUP) in government and a P10 billion fund for the reconstruction of war-stricken Marawi City were included in the Senate version of the proposed P3.767 trillion national budget for 2018, Sen. Loren Legarda said on Wednesday.
All 16 senators present in the session hall of the Senate unanimously approved the 2018 budget.
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, described the budget bill as a “compassionate budget” addressing the needs of the people, those who serve the people, the most vulnerable sector, and the often neglected segments of the society.
“Ito ay budget na nag address ng mga pangangailangan ng taumbayan gaya ng miltary and uniformed personnel, ang pagdo-doble ng kanilang base pay na hinanapan natin ng pondo na P60 billion,” Legarda told reporters after the approval of the budget.
“Pangalawa, patuloy na ating pagbibigay sa social protection sa pinakakamahihirap sa ating bansa sa pamamagitan ng conditional cash transfer sa 4Ps na higit sa P80 billion,” she said.
Legarda said the Senate has also allotted P10 billion more next year to rehabilitate Marawi City. This is on top of the P5-billion budget for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city this year,
“Kung kulang pa yan ay hindi tayo titigil sa pagtrabaho para sa pahanap ng pondo para sa complete reconstruction ng Marawi City,” she said.
Legarda said the cash assistance for teachers or the “chalk allowance” would also be raised to P5,000 in 2018.
The bicameral conference committee will convene on Thursday morning to reconcile the Senate and the House of Representatives versions of the budget bill.
Once the bicameral committee comes up with a report, it will be sent back to the two chambers for ratification before transmitting it to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature. /atm