House commits to approve 2023 national budget before Christmas
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Friday committed to approving the proposed P5.2-trillion budget before Christmas this year.
House appropriations committee chairman Elizaldy Co said the panel and the House would work “double time” to pass the budget before the Christmas break.
“The ball is now in the hands of the committee, whatever disposition we shall take. We must act and work together to scrutinize every aspect of this budget to ensure that it is consistent with the socio-economic agenda of the President,” he said during the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) briefing with the House panel.
“We shall guarantee that every peso authorized in this budget is directed to address food security and inflation, reduce poverty, and provide the necessary stimulus for economic transformation,” he added.
Co also assured that the appropriations panel will work hard, without sacrificing its independence, to ensure that President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. can sign the 2023 national budget before December 25.
“When the Speaker received it [the proposed budget] last Monday, the instruction was clear, for the Committee to act with dispatch without sacrificing its independence to pass this budget before the Christmas break,” he said.
Speaker Ferdinand Romualdez earlier vowed an “open and transparent” deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget, calling on lawmakers to “actively participate” in the process.
“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.
For her part, House committee on appropriations senior vice chairperson Stella Quimbo said Congress must approve a well-targeted budget that also manages the additional debt the government incurred amid the pandemic.
“The Appropriations Committee will ensure that this mandate of Congress shall be fulfilled expediently without sacrificing thorough study and sufficient scrutiny of the budget,” she said.
The House panel on Friday started deliberations on the proposed 2023 national budget with the briefing of the DBCC.
Economic managers presented macroeconomic targets, revenue projections, borrowing level, aggregate budget level, and expenditure priorities for formulating the FY 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP).
The DBCC comprises the heads of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Department of Finance, the National Economic Development Authority, and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Last August 22, the DBM submitted the 2023 NEP, which will be the basis of the General Appropriations Act, that the House will pass with the concurrence of the Senate.
“Let’s work hard and work together to accomplish this task assigned to us by the Filipino people to ascertain their future prosperity and advancement,” Co said.