DBM to submit ₧5.27-T budget on time

THE Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is on track to submit the proposed P5.268-trillion 2023 national budget to Congress on August 22.

Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said the timelines for the proposed national budget next year were among the matters discussed at Thursday morning’s meeting between the Marcos administration’s economic team and some members of the Lower House led by Speaker Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez.

“It was just a quick breakfast meeting. We discussed the budget timelines and committed that from our end I will submit NEP [National Expenditure Program] 2023 on August 22,” Pangandaman told the BusinessMirror.

“DBM will submit on time. In fact, we are now in the process of printing the budget documents,” she added.

Next year’s proposed national budget was higher by 4.9 percent than this year’s P5.024 trillion, but this was the lowest increase in a decade, Pangandaman earlier said. The administration’s top budget priorities for next year include education, health, social safety nets, infrastructure, and agriculture.

Apart from the budget, Pangandaman said the legislative agenda was also discussed during the meeting, adding that the National Economic and Development Authority will convene the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) “soon.”

The Ledac serves as a consultative and advisory body to the President as the head of the national economic and planning agency for further consultations and advice on certain programs and policies essential to the realization of the goals of the national economy. It also serves as a venue to facilitate high-level policy discussions on vital issues and concerns affecting national development.

Several lawmakers have recently prodded the Executive to convene the Ledac soon, arguing that the consultative body’s relative inactivity in the past administration partly accounted for the less-than-ideal liaison between the Executive and Congress, leading in turn to the veto of several bills passed by the 18th Congress.

In his first State of the Nation Address, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. called on the 19th Congress to pass 19 priority measures to help his administration in the next six years.

The President’s priority bills include the following: National Government Rightsizing Program; Budget Modernization Bill; Valuation Reform Bill; Passive Income and Financial Intermediary Taxation Act; Internet Transaction Act or E-Commerce law; Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiatives to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery; enactment of an enabling law for the natural gas industry; amendments to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act or EPIRA; and, the Amendments to the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) Law, among others.