House plenary debates on proposed 2023 budget start | Inquirer News

House plenary debates on proposed 2023 budget start

/ 11:05 AM September 20, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — In keeping with its goal to pass the proposed 2023 national budget before Congress goes on a recess by October, the House of Representatives kickstarted the plenary debates on the General Appropriations Bill on Tuesday.

The House resumed its session early, at 9:00 a.m. to deliberate the 2023 National Expenditures Program (NEP) or the proposed 2023 budget in accordance with its schedule.

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Committee on appropriations chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co sponsored the bill, saying that the proposed budget is geared towards economic transformation and recovery amid rising inflation and the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Presented by measurable medium-term macroeconomic and fiscal objectives, the General Appropriations Bill embodies the 8-point socioeconomic agenda of this administration comprised of: (1) food security; (2) improved transportation; (3) affordable and clean energy; (4) health care; (5) social services; (6) education; (7) bureaucratic efficiency; and (8) sound fiscal management,” Co said in his sponsorship speech.

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“The 8-point socioeconomic agenda is an action plan for the immediate recovery of the economy from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The near-term objective is to address rising inflation driven by internal and external factors, socioeconomic scarring, and low income,” he added.

According to Co, the first proposed budget under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has the general goal of pushing for job creation and poverty reduction, which were points outlined in his speeches during his inauguration and State of the Nation Address (Sona).

“The President’s budget message clearly underlines that the overall goal is to reinvigorate job creation and reduce poverty by steering the economy back to its high-growth path in the near term and sustaining its high, inclusive, and resilient growth in the long term,” Co said.

“The proposed FY 2023 national budget amounting to P5.268 Trillion is 22.2 percent of GDP. This is 4.9 percent higher or P244.4 Billion more than the FY 2022 budget of P5.023 Trillion. The new general appropriations that Congress will authorize is P4.259 Trillion, consisting of P3.671 Trillion in Programmed New Appropriations and P588.2 Billion in Unprogrammed Appropriations,” he added.

During the start of the plenary debates, there was initially some confusion as the Majority moved to start the period of interpellation for the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). However, Minority Floor Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan noted that under the schedule, after Co’s sponsorship, there has to be a debate on the general principles and provisions of the budget.

The Majority agreed, which led to committee on appropriations vice chairperson and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo sponsoring the budget.

Libanan then asked whether secretaries of agencies within the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) are physically present inside the House session hall in line with the long-standing tradition.

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Quimbo in reply admitted that Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Finance Secretary Benjamin Dionko, Socioeconomic planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, and Central Bank Governor Felipe Medalla are all part of the President’s official delegation to the United States.

Libanan then moved that plenary debates on the DBCC budget continue, but its approval was deferred until all four officials are physically present. The Majority then concurred, saying that the officials would be invited to the House on a later date.

Previously, the Majority including Quimbo assured the public that the House is still on track to approve the proposed 2023 budget before October, having heard 14 out of the 34 agencies’ funding at the committee level last September 6.

The committee on appropriations finished the per-agency hearing last Friday in accordance with their self-imposed deadline. Under the schedule, the earliest the House may approve the proposed budget is on September 28, while the latest date set by the Majority is on September 30.

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TAGS: 2023 budget, House, plenary debates, proposed budget
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