MANILA (UPDATE) — President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. on Friday signed the P5.268-trillion 2023 national budget that would focus on economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The passage of the spending plan was among the fastest in recent years, Marcos said, quoting his cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez.
"This is a fine Christmas gift as can be received by any president from his legislature," Marcos said.
The spending plan "defines and gives muscle to the roadmap that the government intends to do for the next year," the President noted.
"We are doing all the structural changes that we need, the legislature has been very cooperative in making amendments... that are necessary to the laws in terms of investments, financial policy," Marcos said.
"All of these elements that are important for us to position ourselves in the new... economy after the pandemic. It bodes well for our future, for the next year, we know that we are all together... and we are moving on the way to the transformation of our economy," he added.
ABS-CBN News is still waiting for a copy of General Appropriations Act that Marcos signed.
The Office of the Senate Committee on Finance Chairman Sonny Angara noted under the final bill transmitted to Marcos, the following agencies would receive the biggest bulk of the budget.
- Education sector (DepEd, TESDA, CHEd, state universities and colleges) - P900.9 billion
- Department of Public Works and Highways- P881.9 billion
- Department of Health - P334.9 billion
- Department of the Interior and Local Government - P255.3 billion
- Department of National Defense - P234.9 billion
- Department of Social Welfare and Development - P199.5 billion
- Department of Agriculture- P178.7 billion
- Department of Transportation - P105.9 billion
- Judiciary - P54.9 billion
- Labor and Employment - P44.8 billion
Congress leaders earlier said the final bill restored the P150-million confidential and intelligence fund for the DepEd and the P10-billion budget of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
It also allocated P500 million worth of confidential and intelligence funds under the office of the Vice President Sara Duterte.
The Office of the Press Secretary has yet to release a copy of the veto message of the President which will explain the line items in the budget that he did not approve.
BUDGET FOR PROSPERITY: ANGARA
Senate Committee on Finance chairman Sonny Angara lauded the passage of the national budget, saying that while there were "disagreements on some issues," lawmakers wanted to "keep the momentum going in the country’s move towards economic recovery."
He assured the public that the 2023 budget would provide "targeted ayuda" to the poor and the elderly, as the prices of basic commodities and fuel stayed elevated.
"Siniguro din natin na patuloy na mabibigyan ng benepisyo at allowances ang ating mga health frontliners na walang tigil sa kanilang serbisyo at sakripisyo para masiguro na lahat ng tinatamaan ng sakit ay mabibigyan ng agarang lunas," said Angara in a statement.
"Inaasahan din natin na matutugunan ng pamahalaan ang patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng bilihin, partikular na ang gulay, manok at baboy," he added.
(We ensured that our health frontliners would continue to get benefits and allowances. We also expect that government would address the continued increase in the prices of goods, particularly vegetables, chicken, and pork.)
Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman had said the 2023 budget aimed to boost the economy by creating more quality and green jobs, reducing poverty incidence, and promoting digitalization, among others.
Pangandaman denied the budget included any "pork barrel" as all funds were properly itemized.