MANILA — The proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023, more than P244 billion compared to this year’s outlay, will focus on the country's economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, a lawmaker said Thursday.
Citing the decrease in the country's COVID-19 infections, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo said it is about time the government focuses on the economy.
"The executive calls it an agenda for prosperity budget. In other words, it's an economic recovery budget, which is the kind of budget that we are expecting today," she told ANC's "Headstart".
Among those with the biggest allotted amounts in next year's proposed budget are infrastructure programs, with the administration planning to spend P1.196 trillion. The Department of Public Works and Highways will receive P718.4 billion, while the Department of Transportation will get P167.1 billion, a 120-percent increase from its P75-billion budget in 2022.
"The reason for our huge contraction in GDP (gross domestic product) is really because of lack of mobility," she said. "The new administration is making sure that in the next 6 years, there's going to be greater mobility especially for our workers."
Quimbo, senior vice chairperson of the House appropriations committee, said the agriculture sector, with a total proposed budget of P184.1 billion, would also be a priority next year.
"Agriculture has been backward. It's a sector that is lagging all other economic sectors. It's really about time that we need to improve the productive capacity of our farmers," she said.
As mandated by the Constitution, the education sector remains as the highest budgetary priority in 2023, with about P852.8 billion allocated for the Department of Education, state universities and colleges, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
From about P633.3 billion in 2022, DepEd's budget has been increased to P710.6 billion in 2023.
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman previously said the proposed budget is geared toward economic transformation for inclusivity and sustainability, aimed at creating more quality and green jobs, reducing poverty incidence, promoting digitalization, and achieving an inclusive and resilient economy.