PBBM expected to sign 2023 budget before December 15

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MANILA — President Marcos is expected to sign into law the proposed P5.26-trillion national budget for 2023 before December 15, according to Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

The bicameral conference committee – composed of representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives – will conclude its deliberations on the 2023 General Appropriations Bill on Monday with the goal of creating a reconciled version of the national spending plan.

“The bicam will end by Dec. 5. The target date of signing by the President is before Dec. 15, hopefully. But I’m sure before New Year, this will be signed and we will have a new budget,” Gatchalian said on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 159th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio in Caloocan City.

Gatchalian chairs the Senate committee on finance sub-committee E.

“What we are saying is that there is still such a great amount of fat that needs to be trimmed, particularly in the confidential and intelligence funds,” Infrawatch convenor and former Kabataan party-list congressman Terry Ridon said in a recent interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News.

Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Risa Hontiveros of the opposition have expressed concern with the P9.3 billion CIFs allocated to various agencies that have nothing to do with intelligence, information, or data collection.

Marcos is proposing a P4.5-billion CIF for his office next year, while Vice President Sara Duterte is seeking a P500-million CIF under her office’s P2.3-billion proposed allocation.

When it passed the proposed 2023 national budget on third and final reading last week, the Senate reallocated P152 million worth of CIFs to several agencies.

Committee senior vice chair and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo believes that the House and the Senate will find common ground, as they will be guided by Marcos’ eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

The Department of Budget and Management stated that the proposed P5.26-trillion 2023 national budget is 4.9 percent higher than this year’s budget.

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