Proposed P5.268-T budget for 2023 submitted to House
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman on Monday submitted to the House of Representatives the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said the House is eyeing to approve the proposed P5.268 trillion budget for 2023 on third and final reading on or before October 1.
"The House leadership is eyeing to finish the committee and plenary deliberations on the budget proposal on or before October 1 when Congress is scheduled to go on its first recess that will last up to November 6," he said.
“The House of the people will effectively respond to the needs of the people, especially in addressing the continued impact of the health crisis and to create more jobs and to ensure food security,” Romualdez said during the turnover.
“Every centavo of the national budget will be spent wisely to implement programs that will save lives, protect communities and make our economy strong,” he added.
Earlier, the Department of Budget and Management said it had been busy crafting a budget that’s “not only responsive to the needs of the time but aligned with the priorities of the Marcos administration.”
According to Pangandaman, the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 is proactive and resilient.
“We will coordinate closely with the committee during the committee hearings and deliberations to ensure a transparent process of the passage of the General Appropriations bill,” Pangandaman said in her message during the submission of the budget.
“We expect the budget to be signed by December or the General Appropriations Act will be forwarded to Malacañang by first week or second week of December so we could all have a nice Christmas celebration,” she added.
She said the agency already identified the priority sectors in the proposed budget. This includes education, infrastructure development, health, agriculture, and social safety nets.
The education sector, composed of the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and state universities and colleges, remains the highest budgetary priority as mandated by the Constitution. The DBM said the sector would receive an 8.2% increase at P852.8 billion.
The DBM said the budget of DepEd would increase from P633.3 billion in 2022 to P710.6 billion in 2023.
“As the President said during his first SONA, we should not hold back on investing in education, as education is the only legacy we can leave our children that will never go to waste. This proves this administration’s commitment to invest in human capital development and youth empowerment,”mPangandaman said.
With regards to infrastructure programs, a total of P1.196 trillion has been allotted.
The Department of Public Works and Highway will receive P718.4 billion budget in 2023, while the Department of Transportation will obtain P167.1 billion in 2023.
The DBM noted that this was an increase by 120.4% from its P75.8 billion budget in 2022, which covers the augmented funding requirements for various foreign-assisted railway projects.
“President Marcos earlier said that this administration shall continue to implement infrastructure projects and refocus to Build, Better, More. These projects-- subway, regional airports, railways and farm-to-market roads-- will surely benefit the Filipino people,” Pangandaman said.
According to the DBM, the transportation infrastructure projects which will be implemented include the North-South Commuter Railway, the Metro Manila Subway Phase 1, the LRT-1 Cavite Extension, and the PNR South Long Haul.
As regards to the health sector, the government vowed to ramp up vaccination efforts and the uptake of boosters for the vulnerable population.
The government would also strengthen the country’s health system through improvement of health facilities and services.
The DBM said the government’s health sector should receive a 10.4% budget increase at P296.3 billion in 2023, inclusive of the budgets of the Department of Health and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.
Pangandaman said: “Around P29 billion has been allocated to purchase drugs, medicine and vaccines while more than P19 billion has been allocated for the salary and benefits of healthcare workers.”
She added that P23 billion has been allotted for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), which will fund the purchase of medical equipment as well as the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of barangay health stations, rural health units, polyclinics, LGU hospitals, DOH hospital, and other various health facilities nationwide.
On the other hand, the Department of Agriculture, its attached agencies, and the Department of Agrarian Reform will be allotted P184.1 billion, a 39.2% increase from its 2022 allocation.
The figure includes P29.5 billion for irrigation services, according to the DBM, saying that this was in line with President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s order to prioritize the agriculture sector.
Marcos currently sits as the chief of the Agriculture Department.
“In support of the mandate of our President, and in anticipation of a global food crisis and for the long-term goal of food self-sufficiency, we increased the budget of the DA by 43.9%, to cover the funding requirements for its programs and projects,” Pangandaman said.
To address the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society, the Department of Social Welfare and Development should be allocated with P197 billion budget in 2023.
The government would continue to fully support the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, Protective Services for Individuals and Families in Difficult Circumstances, Sustainable Livelihood Program, and the Supplementary Feeding Program.
“Our budget provides for the implementation of the projects and programs of the DSWD. The President said it himself—we must not neglect the poorest of the poor, Pangandaman said.
Meanwhile, P18.4 billion of the total P26.2 billion budget for the Department of Labor and Employment would be utilized to implement its Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, to help beneficiaries recover from the economic displacement caused by the pandemic.
The DBM said this includes the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD), DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program, among others.
Further, the Marcos administration has allocated P453.1 billion for climate change expenditures, where the DBM, in collaboration with the Climate Change Commission, developed a mechanism, the Climate Change Expenditure Tagging (CCET).
The DBM said this is “to track and report climate change expenditures focused on food security, water sufficiency, ecosystem and environmental stability, human security, climate smart industries and services, knowledge and capacity development and sustainable energy.”
On the other hand, the budget of the Department of National Defense has been increased by 9% at P240.7 billion while P31 billion was allocated for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund.
“Government hopes to fund these and ensure their proper delivery by pursuing the path of sound fiscal management and enhanced bureaucratic efficiency. I am confident that the 2023 budget will help us achieve our goals for economic transformation, growth, and sustainability,” Pangandaman said.
‘Spending delays, procurement mess’
In a separate statement, Deputy Speaker Ralph Recto of Batangas said the P5.268 trillion proposed budget for 2023 must fix spending delays and procurement mess.
Recto cited that there should be no repeat of the 2021 scenario wherein P784.8 billion remained undisbursed by end of the year, on top of P88.8 billion in unreleased appropriations.
“When it comes to public spending, the problem is not in budget authorization, or when Congress approves the budget, but in budget execution, when agencies spend the budget given to them. The budget is supposed to be spent for the right purpose, at the right time, by the right agency, for the right price,” Recto said.
“But COA (Commission on Audit) reports on procurement fiascos and huge unobligated amounts are a continuing indictment of the failure to obligate funds promptly and properly. That failure betrays the public because the tax-budget dynamic is that taxes paid by the people without disputing must be spent for projects that would benefit them without delay,” Recto added.
Recto said the proposed 2023 budget should have a provision prohibiting agencies from allocating their funds to Procurement Service of the DBM and the Philippine International Trading Corporation to help them in procuring their needs and budget disbursement.
“The elephant in the room that must be addressed in this particular budget, through a budget provision outlawing the practice, is the parking of funds in the PS-DBM and PITC. Ang nangyayari kasi, ang manok na dapat lutuin agad para maihain sa bayan ay mina-marinate muna ng ilang taon sa mga ahensyang iyan (What is happening is that the chicken that needs to be roasted and served to the people is being marinated to no end.) If the thrust of this budget is recovery from the pandemic, then how fast our recovery is will depend to a large extent on how fast we spend the budget,” Recto added. — RSJ/KG, GMA News