The "small committee" in the House of Representatives that's been tasked to integrate congressmen's proposed amendments to the just-approved P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for 2023 is set to convene soon.
Thus, said House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd district Rep. Mannix Dalipe, who shared that it's the House leadership's instruction for them to see to it that everything's in order once the GAB is transmitted to the Senate.
"We will be convening the small committee para sa mga (for the) amendments and siguro in a few days, we will be able to forward it already to the Senate. So we're just trying to fit yung amendments," Dalipe told reporters in a chance interview Monday, Oct. 3.
Dalipe, Appropriations Committee Chairman Zaldy Co (Ako Bicol Party-list), Appropriations Committee Senior Vice Chairperson Stella Quimbo (Marikina City 2nd district), and Minority Leader Nonoy Libanan (4Ps Party-list) comprise the small committee, which was formed right after the budget measures approval on third and final reading by the House last Sept. 28.
"Tingin ko (I think) we'll be on time and as expected, we will have a Bicameral Conference Committee for the 2023 budget this coming November," the majority leader, who acts as the right-hand man of Speaker Martin Romualdez, said.
Asked about the deadline of the work of the small committee, Dalipe said, "Wala pa (None as of now), we'll just announce it."
"If a few weeks, we will pass it ( to the Senate)," he added.
But what about the proposed amendments that are up for consideration by the small panel?
"We're still collating the other amendments pero (but)...siguro wala nang masyadong (maybe there won't be much) changes except yung mga ibang proposals (for the other proposals) that we are awaiting from the different sponsors," Dalipe said.
During the course of the deliberations on the proposed 2023 budget in the House, it was found out that there several seemingly important items or programs were given zero allocations by the executive branch.
These include the Department of Education's (DepEd) programs for the education of special children, the Department of Health's (DOH) cancer control progran, and the outlay for state-run network IBC-13 for next year.
"Definitely, there will be changes on that, hindi naman maze-zero (they won't get zero allocation). Definitely, we will propose that," Dalipe said, without naming any particular item.
"The instruction of Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is to see to it that when we forward it, or when we transmit it to the Senate, maaayos na lahat (everything is in order)," he added.
Other proposed amendments that they're looking into include requests for additional funding to departments, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Department of Health (DOH), he further said.