Minority lawmakers have vowed to subject the proposed 2023 national budget of P5.268-trillion to “tight scrutiny” even as the House leadership has committed to ensuring its timely passage.
Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, a deputy minority leader, on Sunday said the proposed national budget would be thoroughly reviewed and would “pass through the eye of the needle” at the House of Representatives.
“We, the minority group, assure our countrymen that we will examine the proposed budget. We will scrutinize it,” she said.
The House of Representatives is set to receive today the proposed National Expenditure Program for next year—the first full one-year outlay of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman will turn over the budget proposal to Speaker Martin Romualdez, Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe, Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan, committee on appropriations chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, and his senior vice chairperson, Marikina City Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo.
Next year’s NEP is P244 billion or almost 5 percent higher than this year’s P5.024-trillion outlay.
House leaders have vowed to finish committee and plenary deliberations on the budget proposal before Oct. 1, during which Congress is scheduled to go on its first recess which would last until Nov. 6.
“Last Congress, we did it, we were able to beat the Sept. 30 deadline. We gave all members of the House time to deliberate and interpellate intelligently on all departments,” Dalipe earlier said.
The appropriations committee would begin hearings on the NEP on Aug. 26 with a briefing by President Marcos’ economic managers.
Quimbo said the panel eyes to finish its hearings by Sept. 16, a Friday, to give the House two weeks for plenary deliberations and third and final reading approval before the Oct. 1 recess.
“Rest assured that Congress shall work tirelessly to approve a budget that is responsive to the needs of the people and is able to bring inclusive and sustainable growth,” she said.
But despite the tight schedule, Herrera appealed to the majority to give every member of the minority bloc the opportunity to ask questions to the heads of government agencies pertaining to their respective budget proposals and other related issues.
She said an agency’s absorptive capacity is “very important and critical” in the budget process.