Gabriela condemns House’s quick OK of P5.268 trillion nat’l budget for 2023
MANILA, Philippines — The Gabriela Women’s Party on Thursday slammed the swift passage of the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 by the House of Representatives, negatively rating the budget due to its perceived inability to meet public needs.
Gabriela lamented the allocation of considerable funds for foreign debt payments, military spending, infrastructure, pork barrels, and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
It also lambasted the large secret and intelligence budgets of the President’s and Vice President’s offices, which total P4.5 billion and P500 million, respectively.
“Imbes na pagwawaldas ng kaban ng bayan sa korupsyon, pasismo, at iba pang [mga] ‘di kapaki-pakinabang na paghuhulugan ng pera, nararapat ilaan ang pondo ng mamamayan para sa ayuda, trabaho, pabahay, at pampublikong serbisyo,” it said in a statement.
(Instead of squandering the public’s money on corruption, fascism, and other non-useful means of money, the people’s funds should be allocated for aid, jobs, housing, and public services.)
“Wakasan ang NTF-Elcac, wakasan ang paninindak at pagpapatahimik sa taumbayan. Ilaan ang pondo ng mamamayan para sa mamamayan!” Gabriela added.
(End the NTF-Elcac, end the terror and pacification of the people. Allocate the funds of the people for the people!)
According to Gabriela, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s unprogrammed funds totaling P588 billion will be a major source of pork in the 2023 national budget.
The group likewise claimed additional pork barrel programs in the Local Government Support Fund, Growth Equity Fund, Barangay Development Program, Support for Infrastructure Projects, and Social Program.
It also decried the budget cuts in services intended for women, such as the Department of Health’s Family Health, Immunization, Nutrition, and Responsible Parenting, the Department of Social Welfare and Development supplementary feeding program, and Early Childhood Care and Development, among others.
Gabriela further revealed that House-approved 2023 spending plan of the government has no allocation for quality and affordable housing. It alleged that the government is pushing to make housing a business.
The lack of aid for the poor, farmers, struggling micro, small, and medium enterprises, and even young students who are returning to school under the national budget next year was also called out by the group.
On Wednesday, September 28, the House of Representatives approved the P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023 with 289 lawmakers voting in the affirmative. Three legislators registered their negative votes for next year’s national budget proposal as there was no abstentions recorded during the plenary voting. — Kristelle Razon, trainee
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