House Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd district Rep. Mannix Dalipe guaranteed on Tuesday, Aug. 16 the timely passage of the proposed 2023 national budget despite having just roughly one month to tackle it.
Dalipe made this assurance less than a week before the House of Representatives is expected to get their hands on the National Expenditure Program (NEP), which for next year is pegged at P5.27 trillion.
The House is scheduled to go on a month-long recess on Sept. 30, which means the solons aim to finish the per agency deliberations and the third reading passage of the budget before that date.
"Kaya (It's possible), we were able to do it. Kailangan lang i-manage yung time, yung scheduling plus yung deliberations (We just need to manage the time, the scheduling, plus the deliberations)," Dalipe told House reporters during the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan news forum.
The 2023 NEP, which will be submitted to the House on Monday, Aug. 22, is the precursor of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), or the proposed national budget. It emanates from the executive branch.
"Last Congress we were able to beat the Sept. 30 deadline...I can confidently say, we can make the Sept. 30 deadline ," said Dalipe, who incidentally was a vice chairman of the Committee on Appropriations during the previous 18th Congress.
The Committee on Appropriations is the main panel behind the deliberations of the budget. It is chaired by Ako-Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co in the current 19th Congress.
Appropriations panel senior vice chairperson and Marikina City 2nd district Rep. Stella Quimbo says the actual committee deliberations will start on Aug. 26.
"Aug. 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 Aug. 26 with a briefing by the DBCC (Development and Budget Coordination Committee)," she said during the same forum.
But Quimbo confirmed that appropriations panel members have already been conducting "informal meetings" with agencies that have more complicated budgets.
This way, the committee can better prepare for these agencies once their respective budgets are up for discussion, she said.
Quimbo said the panel aims to conclude the per agency budget deliberations on Sept. 16, after which it will endorse the GAB for plenary approval on second and third reading.