House approves P5.268-T 2023 national budget on final reading

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MANILA – The House of Representatives on Wednesday night approved on third and final reading the proposed PHP5.268 trillion national budget for 2023.

The Chamber passed House Bill 4488, also known as the 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), with 289 affirmative votes, three negative votes, and no abstention, which will be the first national budget to be implemented under the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Following Marcos’ certification of urgency, the House passed its version of the spending measure on the second and third reading on the same day.

President Marcos earlier called for the immediate passage of the proposed 2023 budget “in order to address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of the current fiscal year, strengthen efforts to respond more effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic, and support initiatives towards national economic recovery.”

Speaker Martin Romualdez commended his colleagues for their important contributions to the quick adoption of GAB and ensuring that every centavo is spent properly to implement the Marcos administration’s programs aimed at revitalizing the country’s economy in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The expeditious passage of the proposed 2023 budget is the product of the collective effort of the entire House, in transparent and open proceedings where the majority accorded ample opportunity for the constructive inputs of our friends from the minority bloc,” Romualdez said.

The House-approved budget for 2023, he noted, remains consistent with the 8-point socio-economic agenda of the Marcos administration to achieve sustainable growth.

With the approval of the GAB, the House met its self-imposed deadline to terminate the deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget before the adjournment of the session from October 1 until November 6, 2022.

From the time the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) filed the National Expenditure Program (NEP) on Aug. 22, 2022, it took the House of Representatives only six weeks to approve the GAB.

The government’s economic team earlier noted that the Marcos administration aims to achieve 6.5 to 8.0 percent real gross domestic product (GDP) growth annually between 2023 to 2028 to attain a single-digit or 9.0 percent poverty rate by 2028.

In pursuit of this objective, the DBM’s proposed PHP5.268 trillion NEP is 4.9 percent higher than the 2022 budget and prioritizes education, infrastructure development, health, agriculture, and social safety nets.

The education sector will receive an 8.2 percent boost under the NEP next year, totaling PHP852.8 billion, and will continue to be the highest budgetary priority, as specified by the Constitution.

The Department of Education increased from PHP633.3 billion in 2022 to PHP710.6 billion in 2023.

A total of PHP1.196 trillion, on the other hand, has been allotted for the 2023 infrastructure programs of the government.

In 2023, the health sector’s budget will increase by 10.4 percent at PHP296.3 billion, including the budgets of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The agriculture sector was allotted PHP184,1 billion, a 39.2 percent increase from its allocation in 2022, in order to improve its performance. Included in the overall amount is PHP29.5 billion for irrigation services.

These appropriations are in accordance with the President’s mandate that agriculture must be given top priority in order to revitalize and transform it from an economic laggard into one of the most important growth and employment drivers.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.