House: OK of 2023 nat’l budget to meet deadline

August 16, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 260 views

THE leadership of the House of Representatives is confident in the timeline they have set for themselves in approving the proposed national budget for 2023.

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe, Marikina City 2nd District Representative Stella Luz Quimbo, and Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Representative Margarita Ignacia “Migs” Nograles were all hopeful that the national budget or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) would have smooth sailing in the chamber, which has the power of the purse.

The National Expenditure Program (NEP), the precursor of the GAB, will be submitted to the House on Monday, August 22. By September 30, the House will begin its first recess in the 19th Congress and won’t convene until over a month later, on November 6.

Asked about their budget schedule, Dalipe, during the Ugnayan sa Batasan Majority News Forum, said: “Kaya, we were able to do it. Kailangan lang i-manage ‘yung time, ‘yung scheduling plus ‘yung deliberations.”

“Last Congress nagawa natin ‘yun, we were able to beat the September 30 deadline, giving all members of the House of Representatives time to deliberate, interpellate intelligently with all the departments. Dito nagsimula ‘yung proseso, at gusto naming mabigyan lahat ng mga miyembro ng Kamara ng panahon na ma-scrutinize ‘yung budget. And we were able to do that,” Dalipe said.

“I can confidently say, we can make the September 30 deadline,” underscored the Zamboanga City 2nd district congressman.

Quimbo, a senior vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, gave an idea of how the House will tackle the NEP.

“August 22 is when we expect the NEP to be submitted to us by the executive, and basically… this is merely a ceremonial turnover. After that, we will now have the budget briefings. So ito na ‘yung sequential budget briefings with every agency and this will start on August 26 with a briefing by the DBCC (Development and Budget Coordination Committee),” she said.

According to her, the committee plans to finish the per agency hearings by September 16. That means the House plenary will have around two weeks to approve the GAB on the third and final reading before the scheduled recess.

Quimbo attested to the capability of Dalipe to push for the GAB’s passage in a timely manner.

“As you may know, si Majority Floor Leader Dalipe was a former vice chair of the appropriation committee at ako ay buhay na saksi sa hard work at dedication ni Majo Dalipe sa lahat ng budget deliberations,” Quimbo said.

“Simple lang naman yan, talagang makukuha talaga sa hard work ng mga members,” the Marikina solon underscored.

Nograles, for her part, said the appropriations panel will hold a meeting this week to prepare for the NEP’s submission.

“We already have a meeting this week for the Committee on Appropriations to be able to really buckle down and talk about the budget that we will be handling. We aim to finish that before [the start of the recess] on September 30,” Nograles said.