Romualdez vows ‘open, transparent’ House deliberations for 2023 budget
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Martin Romualdez on Friday vowed an “open and transparent deliberations on the part of the House of Representatives on the proposed P5.2-trillion national budget for 2023.
He issued the call during the first day of budget deliberations of the House committee on appropriations, saying the proposed budget, which will be under the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), will be a “unity national budget.”
“The passage of the 2023 national budget will be open and transparent. This will be a product of the entire House of the representative with the majority will listen to the various government agencies and instrumentalities and to the concerns of our friends from the minority bloc,” Romualdez said.
“In a manner of speaking, this will be the ‘unity’ national budget,'” he added.
Romualdez called on his colleagues in the House to “actively participate” in the crafting of the 2023 national budget.
“I encourage every member of this august chamber to actively participate in crafting a GAB that addresses the eight-point economic agenda stipulated in the medium-term fiscal framework of this administration,” he said.
In crafting the budget, Romualdez told his colleagues to “ensure food security” by focusing on increasing food production, reducing costs including transport, logistics and energy.
“[This is] to protect the purchasing power of the consumers,” he said.
Romualdez further assured that each spending on the national budget “will contribute to our goal of reigniting the fires of our economic forces and at least reach economic growth at pre-pandemic levels.”
“Every centavo of this national budget will be spent wisely to implement projects and programs putting primordial considerations into saving lives building and protecting communities and making our economy strong and more agile,” he said.
“I am confident with the leadership of the committee on appropriations and the overwhelming support of its members that we shall be able to pass this budget expeditiously without sacrificing the independence of the House of the representatives,” the House leader added.
He further called on lawmakers to “buckle down to work” to “be able to deliver the necessary tools and resources to improve the lives of the Filipino people and uplift their hope for a better quality of life.”
The Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC), composed of composed of Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and Governor Felipe Medalla of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) attended the first House budget deliberation.
The heads of the different government agencies are expected to go to the House in the coming weeks to discuss their respective budgets.
The 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) or proposed national budget is worth P5.268 trillion. The NEP serves as the basis for the GAB.
Romualdez called the Palace’s spending proposal “a conservative budget, where fiscal discipline is harmonized with growth and recovery from the impact of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic”.
“The challenges ahead of us may be daunting, and we shall rely on the brilliance of this administration’s economic team to usher us in sustaining the economic progress achieved by its predecessor,” he added. — with reports from Lyka Farillon, Inquirer.net trainee