House Speaker Martin Romualdez says the lower chamber aims to pass the proposed P5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 on third and final reading by the end of next month.

From left to right: DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman. Speaker Martin Romualdez. Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe, and appropriations panel chairman Zaldy Co (Speaker’s Office)

Romualdez, in a statement Monday, Aug. 22, vowed that every centavo of the national budget “will be spent wisely to implement programs that would save lives, protect communities and make our economy strong and more agile”.

“The House leadership is eyeing to finish committee and plenary deliberations on the budget proposal before Oct. 1, when Congress is scheduled to go on its first recess that will last up until Nov. 6, our break,” he said.

On Monday, the House received the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP) worth P5.268-trillion from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). The solons will use the Palace-crafted NEP as the basis for the eventual General Appropriations Act (GAA), or the enacted national budget.

“Our leadership endeavors to be in partnership with the Senate and MalacaƱang and we shall work on boosting our infrastructure development through the Build, Build, Build program,” Romualdez said.

“We will perform our constitutional mandate to scrutinize and act deliberately and judiciously and very, very cautiously in the deliberations of the national budget for this is the most important piece of legislation that we shall face this year,” the Leyte 1st district congressman said, adding that the 2023 budget process will be transparent.

The per agency budget deliberations in the House–easily the most tedious part of the budget process–is set to begin on Aug. 26.

Meanwhile, Majority Leader Mannix Dalipe, Romualdez’s right-hand man, explained how the chamber plans to finish the business process in roughly a month’s time.

Dalipe said he has organized three teams composed of deputy majority leaders and assistant majority leaders to ensure the smooth and seamless flow of discussion once the budget is brought to the plenary. It is at the plenary where the budget bill will be approved on second reading, and then on third reading.

He is also closely working with appropriations panel chairman, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co to make sure that all concerns of House members on the budget are properly addressed.

“ We have already coordinated with our teams in the committee on rules. We have prepared three teams (composed of Deputy Majority Leaders and Assistant Majority Leaders) and we are ready for the plenary deliberations on the budget. We are also closely coordinating with the Committee on Appropriations in order to facilitate our members who would want to fully discuss the budget,“ said Dalipe, who represents Zamboanga City’s 2nd district.

“We have prepared for this, we have arranged the teams and we will not be remiss in our job to properly scrutinize the budget,” he added.

“The Committee on Appropriations has already made the process where pre-budget deliberations are being held so that our parochial concerns will be addressed in the committee hearings and the policy questions will be addressed in the plenary deliberations,” he bared.

Source: Manila Bulletin (