Timely passage of 2023 budget to help PHL gov’t achieve economic goals

THE TIMELY PASSAGE of the proposed 2023 national budget will help ensure the fulfillment of the administration’s socioeconomic agenda, leaders of the House of Representatives said as they began plenary debates on the spending plan on Tuesday.

House Bill 4488 or the 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB), will authorize new general appropriations amounting to P4.259 trillion, consisting of P3.671 trillion in programmed new appropriations and P588.2 billion in unprogrammed funds, which may only be used when collections from any revenue sources exceed targets or when new foreign loans or grants are received.

The proposed P5.268-trillion budget is 4.9% higher than this year’s spending plan and is equivalent to 22.2% of gross domestic product (GDP). It was submitted by the Department of Budget and Management to Congress on Aug. 22.

The 2023 GAB seeks to provide funding for programs and measures that support the eight-point socioeconomic agenda of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., namely food security, improved transportation, affordable and clean energy, healthcare, social services, education, bureaucratic efficiency, and sound fiscal management.

“It is now the responsibility of the House of Representatives through the Committee on Appropriations, where the General Appropriations Act originates, to pass a timely, responsive and inclusive budget for the Filipino people,” House Committee on Appropriations Chair Elizaldy S. Co said in his sponsorship speech.

House Committee on Appropriations Senior Vice-Chair Stella Luz A. Quimbo said in her sponsorship remarks that the 2023 budget is the first step for the government’s achievement of its economic goals.

“To pave our economic recovery path moving forward, the new administration crafted the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF), which seeks to grow our economy, stabilize prices, increase revenues, as well as manage and pay our debt… If external shocks such as geopolitical tensions and policy rate hikes in the US were absent, the challenge of economic recovery would have been easier. Nonetheless, these are recognized and factored into the framework of growth,” Ms. Quimbo said.

“The 2023 budget is the first step in fulfilling the visions of the MTFF to create more jobs and reduce poverty. House Bill No. 4488 or the 2023 General Appropriations Bill amounting to P5.268 trillion focuses on growing vital sectors of the economy,” she added.

Ms. Quimbo noted that the education sector, which is constitutionally mandated to have the biggest share in the national spending plan, has a proposed budget of P852.8 billion to be used for the safe resumption of face-to-face classes, the construction and rehabilitation of school facilities and to provide educational assistance.

She added that spending on health, agriculture and agrarian reform, social protection programs and sustained infrastructure development are important pillars of the 2023 GAB.

“By creating a vibrant atmosphere for business, small businesses develop, and investments come in. With more investments, jobs are created,” Ms. Quimbo said. “And with more and better jobs come prospects for growth. That is the blueprint of our economic recovery.”

The House of Representatives began 2023 budget briefings for the different government agencies on Aug. 26 and ended them on Sept. 16.

House leaders have said they aim to approve the 2023 budget before their October recess. — M.C.L. Montecillo

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