Congress of the Philippines

11/25/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/24/2022 23:29


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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

25 November 2022 01:10:07 PM

HOUSE Committee on Appropriations and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co on Friday assured that the House of Representatives' contingent to the bicameral committee conference on the P5.268-billion national budget measure for 2023 will ensure that it will reflect President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s 8-point socio-economic agenda.

"Both Congress and the Senate adopted the Medium-term Fiscal Framework prior to the budget deliberations. Ito ang magiging guide post namin sa pag-finalize ng budget," Co said in a statement.

The bicam convened Friday at the Manila Golf Club in Makati City to harmonize the disagreeing provisions of the 2023 national budget.

"In the end, the final version will be one that best supports the President's 8-point socio-economic agenda. We envision the final version as a budget that creates jobs, keeps the macroeconomy stable, and helps keep inflation within a manageable range," Co added.

"My fervent hope is that in the coming days, we arrive at a common and collective decision to reconcile our differences and harmonize them with the programs of the present administration and balance them with the needs of our constituents.
Our shared aspiration is to bring a better quality of life for Filipinos; for their future prosperity and advancement," Co said in his opening remarks.

Co and Marikina City Rep. Stella Quimbo, senior vice chairperson of the House Committee on Appropriations, expressed hope to approve the national budget before Christmas.

"House leaders want to approve President Marcos' first budget earlier this year. Usually, before New Year parati ang approval. This time, the target is to have this passed into law before Christmas. Magandang pamaskong handog ang komprehensibong 2023 budget para sa ating mga kababayan," Co declared.

"Usually nagiging batas ito before New Year. Pero this year dahil nga maaga tayong nag umpisa ng trabaho, ang aspiration is sana before Christmas," Quimbo told reporters during an ambush interview.

"Although may mga disagreeing provisions, and I believe amounting to about P215 billion worth of increases in budget items, sa tingin ko naman mabilis na makaka-agree ang House at ang Senado dahil meron tayo, for the first time, inadopt natin 'yung Medium Term Fiscal Framework na ito na naglalaman ng Eight Point Socio Economic Agenda ng ating Pangulo. So 'yan ang magiging guiding posts ng House at ng Senate. And in the end, ang maipapasa natin na version ay siyang pinaka-magandang susuporta dito sa ating agenda," Quimbo added.

Co also assured that the House contingent to the bicam will stand firm on what he described as "non-negotiables" in next year's national budget, which includes the country's ongoing pandemic response and measures to curb inflation.

"The General Appropriations Bill is consistent with the action plan of this administration in addressing the rising inflation driven by internal and external factors, socioeconomic scarring, and low income. We are still on the path of recovery from the lingering effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Admittedly, this pandemic transformed each of us in the way we think and create solutions to existing economic problems. The policy choices that we will make in this budget will determine the success of our effort to transition from the impact of this pandemic," Co added in his opening statement.

"Dahil hindi pa tapos ang pandemya, kelangan pa rin natin ng sapat na health response. Kasama dito ang booster shots at bayad sa ating frontliners," Co said.
"Mahalaga din na merong sufficient response sa inflation. Dahil food inflation ang pinakamalaking bahagi, kailangang sapat ang budget para sa agrikultura. Halimbawa, may programs ang DA (Department of Agriculture) para sa bigas, mais, High Value Crops at maging livestock development."

"Kasama din sa inflation response ang iba't ibang programang pang-ayuda ng gobyerno tulad ng AICS ng DSWD, MAIP ng DOH, at TUPAD ng DOLE. Maganda din na magkaroon tayo ng fuel subsidy para sa transportation sector," Co said.

Co said he expects a very smooth bicam conference on the country's spending program for 2023 even if the House and the Senate have disagreeing provisions of their respective versions of the measure because he believes they have a common agenda.

"Kahit may ilang disagreeing provisions, hindi magiging mahirap para sa Kongreso at Senado na mag-reconcile ang mga pagkakaiba dahil iisa naman ang aming layunin," he said.

The House leadership assigned the following lawmakers as the chamber's contingent to the bicam conference: Co, Quimbo, Reps. Ralph Recto, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Mannix Dalipe, Ferdinand Alexander "Sandro" Marcos, Jay-Jay Suarez, Neptali Gonzales II, Joboy Aquino II, Raul Angelo Bongalon, Eleandro Jesus Madrona, Michael John Duavit, Marcelino Libanan and Edcel Lagman.

For the Senate, members of the bicam are composed of Senators Sonny Angara, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, Win Gatchalian, Bato Dela Rosa, Bong Go, Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Francis Tolentino, Mark Villar, JV Ejercito, Alan Cayetano, Chiz Escudero, and Jinggoy Estrada.(END)