Angara: Proposed 2023 national budget to pursue PH national recovery

Senate Committee on Finance Senator Sonny Angara on Wednesday, December 7 said he is optimistic that the proposed P5.268-trillion budget of the government for next year would revitalize the country’s economy after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is a budget for national recovery. It’s the first budget of the Marcos administration so you also want to support the initiatives of the administration,” Angara said.

“It’s a modest increase from this year’s budget but it will translate to higher budgets for health, agriculture, education and infrastructure. The need to support these sectors is undebatable,” he said.

The 2023 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is now being prepared for printing and awaiting transmittal to Malacañang for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s signature.

Under next year’s budget, the education sector will receive a total budget of over P900-billion, higher than this year’s funding under the General Appropriations Act (GAA). This includes the budget for the state universities and colleges (SUCs), which is higher than what was contained in the National Expenditure Program (NEP).

The 2023 national budget also features funding for the Special Education Program of the DepEd.

“The education sector is higher than what Malacañang proposed under the National Expenditure Program (NEP). Both the Senate and the House prioritized this sector. What was approved was also higher than the allocation for the education sector in the 2022 budget,” he said.

On the other hand, the health sector also received a huge chunk of the total budget under the 2023 GAB, which is at P416-billion. This includes items placed under the unprogrammed appropriations that would be funded once additional profits come in.

The 2023 budget will also finance the emergency health benefits and allowances for the country’s health and non-health workers, the purchase of vaccines, medical assistance for indigent patients and increases in the operational budgets of the state-run hospitals.

The agriculture sector—which is one of the cornerstones of the Marcos administration—is given a total of P178.7-billion under the 2023 GAB or an increase of P46.5-billion from this year’s budget of P132.2-billion.

“During the campaign, the President promised to improve food security and to provide affordable food. The 2023 budget will result in more funds to support our farmers and fisherfolk and provide more funds to support local production as a whole,” Angara said.

The lawmaker said Congress had to pass the budget on time because government spending is an integral part of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

“What we spend on must also be productive. Budget and economic experts are unanimous in saying that the most productive investments are those related to human and physical capital like health and education and on capital expenses because in the end, these will help the government generate more revenues and also result in the creation of more jobs,” he said.