Senate opens scrutiny of 2023 national budget
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Wednesday began deliberations on the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023.
The discussion on the budget proposal by the Senate committee on finance started with a briefing from members of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC).
Among those present in the hearing were Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
During the hearing, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano also called on Diokno to look into the alleged “expanded fund parking” scheme in the 2023 budget of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
READ: Suarez blows whistle on House’s fund ‘parking’ scheme
According to Cayetano, the scheme involves budget cutting in certain congressional districts and then negotiating its restoration in exchange for favored contractors.
“The problem is there is a group going around telling these districts na ibabalik namin ‘yung pondo niyo pero contractor nila ang gagawa (their funds would be returned as long as their favored contractors would do the projects),” he said during the panel hearing.
The senator likewise said that the alleged practice involves billions of pesos.
He further pointed out that the budgets of many districts were slashed in the 2023 National Expenditure Program to as high as 93.12 percent.
The 2023 proposed budget, which is higher than this year’s P5.024-trillion budget, is also being deliberated on in the House of Representatives.
READ: Duterte signs P5.024 trillion national budget for 2022
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