The proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 remains on track to be passed on the third and final reading before the House of Representatives goes into recess on 1 October.
Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, vice chairperson of Committee on Appropriations, said that as of Monday, 14 out of 34 agencies have already briefed Congress about their respective budget proposals.
“With two more weeks of budget briefings, the appropriations committee, led by chairperson Elizaldy Com gladly shares that we are still on track with our target date to pass the GAB by 1 October 2022,” Quimbo said during the Ugnayan Sa Batas Media Forum on Tuesday
The GAB stands for the General Appropriations Bill, the budget measure to be filed by the House just before the plenary debates. The P5.268-trillion National Expenditure Program for 2023 is the precursor of the GAB.
Quimbo said the House is expected to finish budget hearings on 16 September and head on to plenary debates on 21 September.
Meanwhile, some House members part took their tasks seriously by communicating with the agencies even before the budget hearings commenced.
Quimbo said healthy exchanges between the departments and members of the House transpired during the budget hearings.
Among the agencies that have presented their proposed budgets were the Development Budget Coordination Committee, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism, Office of the President, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Quimbo said discussions have revolved around some of the key spending priorities of the 2023 budget — the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Program and the Total Electrification Program, among others.
Pleas for increased budget
According to Quimbo, almost all agencies have asked for an increase in the budget proposals submitted by the Department of Budget and Management.
However, although several lawmakers supported it, she said the programs that can be sourced for the budget had not been identified yet.
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