Angara: 2023 nat’l budget ensures targeted ‘ayuda’ for sectors affected by COVID-19

The General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2023 worth P5.268-trillion ensures that there would be sufficient financial aid for the sectors who were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Sonny Angara said on Friday, December 16.

Angara, Senate Finance Committee chairman, said Congress has worked hard to make sure that the next year’s budget is signed within the year.

While there have been disagreements on some issues during the bicameral conference committee meetings, the senator said both panels from the House of Representatives and the Senate have agreed to ensure that assistance is given “to those who require it the most and to keep the momentum going” to achieve economic recovery.

Sa paglagda ng 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) ngayong araw, makakasiguro ang ating mga kababayan na tuloy-tuloy ang paghatid ng serbisyo ng gobyerno pagpasok ng unang araw ng bagong taon (With the signing of the 2023 GAA today, our citizens will be able to ensure the continuous delivery of government services on the first day of the new year),” Angara said in a statement.

“Kasama na dito ang pagbibigay ng tinatawag natin na ‘targeted ayuda’ kung saan ang tulong ay direktang ihahatid sa mga sektor na pinaka apektado ng pandemya (This includes providing what we call ‘targeted aid’ where aid will be delivered directly to the sectors most affected by the pandemic),” he said.

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. formally signed into law the P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023, in the presence of Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and House Speaker Martin Romualdez.

Angara said next year’s budget also includes funding for the continuation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); medical assistance for the poor and free ride program; scholarships for students; subsidy for drivers and operators, and cash assistance for the farmers and fishermen.

Next year’s budget also promises higher pension for the country’s indigent senior citizens.

“Siniguro din natin na patuloy na mabibigyan ng benepisyo at allowances ang ating mga health frontliners na walang tigil sa kanilang serbisyo at sakripisyo para masiguro na lahat ng tinatamaan ng sakit ay mabibigyan ng agarang lunas (We also ensured that benefits and allowances will continue to be given to our health frontliners who have not stopped their service and sacrifice to ensure that all those affected by illness will be given immediate relief),” Angara said.

Angara also said he hopes that the government would be able to meet the continuous increase in commodity prices, particularly vegetables, chicken and pork.

He pointed out a large portion of next year’s budget—more than P170-billion—has been allocated to the agricultural sector where the President himself has personally focused.

“In deliberating on the 2023 GAA, Congress was well aware of the need for the government to make productive investments in human and physical capital in order to empower the people, generate revenues, and address the most pressing needs of our kababayans,” he said.

“As stated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., this budget is anchored on an agenda for prosperity. We are no longer at a point where we are catching up and reacting to the developments just like the past two years,” he added.

“Now we can lay the foundation for the country to build on towards sustaining economic growth and providing more opportunities for our people,” Angara stressed.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, in a separate statement, thanked the President for signing the P5.268- trillion national budget.

With the signing, Zubiri said this is a good Christmas and New Year’s gift because the budget is for all projects and programs of government agencies and offices in 2023.

‘’I am very proud of the swift passage of our budget, because this will allow our agencies and offices to go full speed ahead in service of our people,’’ he explained.