House leaders expect to pass 2023 budget before October recess
MANILA, Philippines — House leaders from the Majority are confident they will finish deliberating the proposed 2023 budget — the first under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s administration — just before Congress goes on a recess on October 1.
Majority Floor Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe said during the Ugnayan sa Batasan Majority News Forum that after the proposed budget or the National Expenditure Program (NEP) is sent in by the Executive branch on Monday, August 22, they would have until September 30 to discuss it.
Dalipe, a former vice chairperson of the 18th Congress’ committee on appropriations, said that finishing deliberations before the recess had been done in past editions of the House.
“Last Congress nagawa natin’ yun, we were able to beat the September 30 deadline, giving all members of the House of Representatives time to deliberate, interpellate intelligently with all the departments,” he said.
“Dito nagsimula ‘yung proseso, at gusto naming mabigyan lahat ng mga miyembro ng Kamara ng panahon na ma-scrutinize ‘yung budget. And we were able to do that,” he added.
(The process started here and we want to give all members of the House the chance and time to scrutinize the budget. And we were able to do that.)
Dalipe said all it takes to finish the budget promptly is time management.
“Kaya, we were able to do it. Kailangan lang i-manage ‘yung time, ‘yung scheduling plus ‘yung deliberations […] I can confidently say we can make the September 30 deadline,” he noted.
(We can. We were able to do it. We just need to manage our time, the scheduling, and the deliberations.)
Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, a majority member and vice chairperson of the Appropriations Committee, said agency hearings might end by September 16, and talks would continue to plenary sessions.
“August 22 is when we expect the NEP to be submitted to us by the executive and basically…this is merely a ceremonial turnover. After that, we will now have the budget briefings,” Quimbo said.
“So ito na ‘yung sequential budget briefings with every agency and this will start on August 26 with a briefing by the DBCC (Development and Budget Coordination Committee),” she added.
PBA Rep. Margarita Nograles meanwhile said that a meeting is expected to be held by the committee on appropriations within the week so that lawmakers can prepare for grueling hearings during the budget season
“We already have a meeting this week for the Committee on Appropriations to be able to really buckle down and talk about the budget that we will be handling. We aim to finish that before [the start of the recess] on September 30,” she said.
Last July 8, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman admitted that they would use the entire length of the time prescribed to craft the budget but vowed that it would be in the hands of Congress by August 22 — right within the deadline prescribed by the 1987 Constitution.
Under the Constitution, the President must submit a proposed budget to Congress 30 days after the latter opens its session — or after he or she delivers the State of the Nation Address. But, as the 19th Congress opened last July 25, they will have until August 23 to submit the budget.
The first budget of the Marcos administration is seen to be at a record-high P5.268 trillion.
Quimbo assured the public that Dalipe would ensure that the budget is scrutinized and passed on time, saying that hard work is needed for such tasks.
“As you may know, si Majority Floor Leader Dalipe was a former vice chair of the appropriation committee at ako ay buhay na saksi sa hard work at dedication ni Majo Dalipe sa lahat ng budget deliberations (and I am a witness of his hard work and dedication during the budget deliberations),” she said.
“Simple lang naman yan, talagang makukuha talaga sa hard work ng mga members,” she added.
(That’s simple; we can accomplish that through the members’ hard work.)
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