MANILA, Philippines – The Marcos administration’s first comprehensive annual budget should be one that will prepare the Philippines to be resilient as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, face more natural disasters, and survive global economic instability, according to the Senate sponsor. of the budget bill.
Sponsoring the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) in the Senate plenary on Tuesday, Nov. 8, Senate Finance Committee Chair Senator Sonny Angara said the budget was “not just a spreadsheet” but a plan to “development and prosperity”.
The 2023 budget proposal, which the House of Representatives approved on September 28, is pegged at £ 5,268 trillion. Of this, P1.5979 trillion is for automatic allocations.
Congress will discuss P4.259 trillion in budget, which includes P3.671 trillion for new programmed appropriations and P588 billion in unscheduled funds.
“Kaya, kung bibilangin natin – ilang daan ba ang magagawa, prêt-à-porter maibibigay, patrol ng pulis na made-deploy, kaso korte na matatapos, scholarship na bibigay, research and development projects na ilulunsad, Tetteer na maseswelduhan , knows the budget is limited – in English and in other budget articles. Everything about the country,Angara said.
(So if we were to count them – how many roads will be built, fertilizers to be distributed, police to deploy, court cases to be closed, scholarships to be awarded, research and development projects to be undertaken, teachers to receive salaries, with this budget – they will not just be separate budget items, but they are all intertwined in our dreams for our country.)
Angara said that in addition to the usual considerations about a growing population, inflation, infrastructure projects and wage maintenance, the country must also consider disasters, the exit from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
“Our economy remains weakened by the effects of the long-standing COVID. Although we have installed salvage springboards in the rubble, the takeoff is still not at the desired speed which will push us beyond the damage it has caused, “she said.
The lawmaker said the war, despite being seven time zones from the Philippines, did not spare the country from the fallout from the fuel, food and fertilizer crises it unleashed.
The 2023 budget is ready to cushion the impacts of the expected continuation of the local and global economic crisis.
Angara said the government will strengthen social protection programs, such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program or the Department of Social Security and Development’s 4Ps (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment’s emergency employment programs. .
There is also an increase in funding proposed for rapid response funds when disasters strike to be used by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Health, the Office of Fire Protection, by the Philippine National Police, the Defense Civil Protection Office, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the DSWD.
“Although no government has the power to change its geography or climate, ours aims to do its best to prepare our communities and have funds on hold to help affected communities only to get up if they are ever hit by natural disasters. Angara said.
Students, who have now returned to face-to-face classes, are believed to benefit from DepEd by using funds to ensure adequate ventilation in their classrooms, rehabilitate sanitation facilities, and purchase COVID-19 test kits for faculty, including the others, on the basis of a recommendation by Senator Pia Cayetano.
There is also room in the budget to purchase more vaccines against COVID-19 and “possibly also for monkeypox and other emerging diseases.”
Cayetano recommended financial support for the operations of various public hospitals.
Continuous boost of infrastructure
The 2023 budget has ready allocations for various infrastructure projects, such as the MRT-3 rehabilitation project, the LRT-1 cavite extension, the north-south commuter rail system, and the Manila Metro.
The finance committee said funding increases under the DPWH network development program for road widening projects, bad road paving and diversion road construction, missing road links, overpasses and interchanges.
Infrastructure for the pedestrian network and active transport such as bicycles were also not excluded from the budget.
After outlining other plans in the technology, tourism, defense and other industries and sectors in the country, Angara highlighted the demand for a smart budget, where nothing is wasted or delayed.
“Siyempre, hindi masosolusyunan the problems of your banse agad-agad…. Don’t waste time prose and writing this article.“said Angara.
(Of course, the problems of our country will not be solved immediately …. But it is important that the process of change begins now.)
The Senate interpellations or debates on the GAB will begin on Wednesday 9 November. – Rappler.com