Angara presides over 2023 budget hearing of Senate

September 14, 2022 Camille P. Balagtas 187 views

Solons discuss DBCC’s 8-point socio-economic transformation

SENATOR Juan Edgardo Sonny Angara presided over the hybrid hearing of the Senate Committee on Finance on the proposed 2023 national budget on Wednesday, Sept 14, 2022.

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, during the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) hearing on the proposed P5.368 trillion budget for 2023, presented the current state of the country’s economy and updates on its fiscal performance and borrowing efforts to the Committee on Finance chaired by Angara.

Diokno also presented an overview of the country’s medium-term fiscal plan and the legislative priorities of the Department of Finance (DOF).

“The economic team’s proposed 2023 budget will fortify the country’s bid for a strong recovery and accelerated growth. With capable leaders and a robust economic plan, we are confident that we will achieve the Marcos administration’s bold socio-economic agenda,” Diokno was quoted as saying.

Sen. Pia Cayetano, senior vice chair of the Committee on Finance, stresses the need for the health and education sectors to have adequate funding within targets provided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Cayetano noted the absence of “a clear indication that we need to improve our delivery of education, and the delivery of health.”

The lady senator from Taguig said the target recommended for education is between 4 to 6 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), while the budget provided for the Department of Education (DepEd) is only 2.9 percent of GDP.

“Since we have a lot of catching up to do, I dont think it’s enough that we are near 4 percent. I think we should be on the upper end. Let’s be clear about that. And with health, the recommended spending is 5 percent of GDP, and our actual is 1.38 percent in 2021. And for the National Expenditure Program, [it’s] 1.37 percent. I think we need a lot of clarity here,” Cayetano said in a presentation made by Budget Sec. Amenah Pangandaman, who informed the committee that the biggest allocation is for the social services sector, amounting to P2.07 trillion or 39.3 percent of the proposed 2023 budget.

Pangandaman presented to the Committee on Finance the highlight of the proposed national budget, where she cited the proposed expenditure program that is 4.9 percent higher than this year’s budget and is equivalent to 22.2 percent of GDP.

By expense item, personnel services expenditure had the largest share at 31 percent or P1.631 trillion; capital outlays at 18.6 percent or P980.3B; allocation to local government units (LGUs) at 18.3 percent or P962.2 billion; maintenance and other operating expenses at 16.6 percent or P873.2 billion; support to government-owned and controlled corporations at 3.7 percent or P195.8 billion; debt burden at 11.6 percent or P611 billion and tax expenditures fund, 0.3 percent or P14.5 billion.

Sen. Loren Legarda manifested strong support for the proposed national budget as she appreciated that the national budget under the Marcos Jr. administration was anchored for the first time on the medium-term fiscal framework.

She agreed with the DBCC’s 8-point socio-economic transformation the present administration seeks to achieve.

“After a thorough review perusal of the budget, at least in the macro sense, I believe, and it is clear to me, that it is structured toward the attainment of the goals that you have so aptly set. As such, I believe it is important for us to support these efforts towards economic transformation, inclusivity, and sustainability,” Legarda said.