House receives 2023 national budget proposal; here are the top 5 priority sectors

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has submitted for deliberation the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) to the House of Representatives in a turnover ceremony on Monday, Aug. 22.

DBM Secretary Pangandaman (left) turns over the 2023 NEP to Speaker Romualdez (Photo from Speaker Martin Romualdez Media)

For 2023, the NEP is worth P5.268 trillion--a 4.9 percent increase versus the current 2022 budget or the General Appropriations Act (GAA) worth P5.024-trillion.

The DBM has listed education, infrastructure, health, social protection, and agriculture as the top five priority sectors under the NEP.

A total of P852.8 billion is being sought as education budget for 2023, the highest allocation among the five priority sectors. The amount is a P64.3 billion higher than the current P788.5-billion 2022 GAA education budget.

Agencies covered by the education budget are as follows: the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Meanwhile P718.4 billion was the proposed infrastructure budget for the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). This is mainly to fund its Network Development Program, the Asset Preservation Program, and the Bridge Program. The 2022 GAA has an infrastructure allocation of P786.6 billion.

The NEP proposed a budget of P296.3 billion for the Department of Health (DOH) and PhilHealth to manage the health sector next year. This is P27.9 billion higher compared to enacted health budget of P268.4-billion for 2022.

For social protection under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a P197.0-billion budget has been proposed. The current allocation under this section is P205 billion.

Lastly–for the agricultural sector–the NEP 2023 allocation is P184.1 billion. This is P51.9 billion bigger than the enacted agriculture budget of P132.2 billion.

Agencies included in the agriculture budget are as follows: the Department of Agriculture (DA) and its attached agencies, the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

It should be noted that the figures proposed in the NEP are not final, as Congress must first deliberate over the budget and pass it to the President of the Philippines for his signature before it is enacted as the 2023 GAA.

DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman officially turned over the budget proposal to Speaker of the House Rep. Martin Romualdez on Aug. 22.

The 2023 NEP’s official theme is “Agenda For Prosperity: Economic Transformation Towards Inclusivity and Sustainability.” It was based forpm an eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

"We just have received the national expenditure program for fiscal year 2023. We are very, very happy that we have received it within the reglementary period within we can now act with dispatch on the part of the House," Romualdez said.

"Earlier, we mentioned that the House of the People will effectively respond to the needs of the people, especially in addressing the continued impact of health crisis, create more jobs and ensure food security.

"As such, every centavo of the national budget will be spent wisely to implement programs that would save lives, protect communities and make our economy strong and more agile," the House leader vowed.