Martin2 BUDGET TALKS–Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez delivers his opening remarks during the start of the Development Budget Coordinating Committee meeting at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives Thursday morning. With him are Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Appropriation Vice Chairperson Stella Luz Quimbo, Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Sandro Marcos other House Members, DBM Secretary Meenah Pangandaman and Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno. Photo by Ver Noveno

Every centavo counts in ’24 budget–Speaker Romualdez

August 10, 2023 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 199 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday said the House of Representatives would make sure that every peso of the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget would be spent wisely.

“With utmost diligence, we will ensure that every centavo of the proposed P5.768 trillion budget will be judiciously spent,” Speaker Romualdez, head of the 312-member House of Representatives, said at the start of a briefing of the administration’s economic team on the proposed budget.

The briefing marked the beginning of hearings on the budget proposal President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has submitted to Congress.

It was conducted by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Gov. Eli Remolona.

Speaker Romualdez assured the four officials, his House colleagues and the nation in general, the House would observe transparency in tackling the budget.

“The budget deliberations are a meticulous exercise that requires accuracy, objectivity, and most of all, transparency.

As we hold the power of the purse, it is our duty to completely scrutinize the proposed 2024 national budget and deliver results that would sustain the gains of the past year and support the government’s priorities and policy directions as identified under the eight-point socioeconomic agenda and the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028,” he said.

He said the House would have to closely examine the budget proposals of every department and agency, and analyze every program, activity and project to ensure that resources are allocated and optimized on the right priorities that address economic and social challenges.

He commended President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr.. for submitting to Congress his budget proposal 20 days ahead of his constitutional deadline to do so.

With the early submission of the spending proposal, the House leader said he was confident that his chamber would “be able to deliberate and pass the national budget on time and transmit the same to the Senate.

“Sisiguruhin natin na maipapasa natin ang 2024 general appropriations bill sa loob ng limang linggo lamang. Apat na linggo sa mga komite, at isang linggo sa plenaryo,” he said.

He called upon his colleagues “to actively participate in the budget deliberation, listen and respect everyone’s view, particularly the concerns of our colleagues from the minority, and reach a consensus that is beneficial to the country, especially the poor and marginalized among our people.”

“With an unyielding commitment to unity and accountability, let me assure you that the House of the People will diligently, swiftly and resolutely take action on the proposed budget as outlined in the National Expenditure Program.

We are completely mindful of the weight of this obligation, and we recognize the trust and faith reposed in us by our citizens,” he said.

“Together, let us be a champion of fiscal prudence, effective resource allocation and transparent governance. Through our collective efforts, we will continue to uplift the lives of the Filipino people and pave the way for the Philippines with a brighter future,” he said.