Marcos signs P5.268-T outlay for 2023, his administration's first full-year budget

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Marcos signs P5.268-T outlay for 2023, his administration's first full-year budget
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. signs into law the P5.268-trillion budget for 2023 on December 16, 2022.
Philstar.com screenshot / RTVM

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has signed into law the P5.268-trillion budget for 2023, the first full-year outlay under his administration which he called a “Christmas gift” from lawmakers.

“I will have, I suppose, a Merry Christmas because this is as fine a Christmas gift as can be received by any president from his legislature,” Marcos said in his speech after signing the budget bill which congressional leaders said was passed in record time.

“To see that the rapidity of the passage is significant because it means that this budget, the roadmap that we have proposed from the executive, is fully supported by our legislature,” the president added.

Marcos said the swift passage of the budget “bodes well for our future” as it signaled that the legislature, which is dominated by his allies, is one with his vision of transforming the economy.

“That kind of coordination and that kind of synergy that we will gain from that is going to be an essential part of the way that we move forward,” he said.

While next year’s spending plan was quickly approved, it was also severely criticized by minority lawmakers who sought to remove large sums in confidential and intelligence funds.

Ultimately, a tiny portion of confidential funds were slashed by the Senate. However, the upper chamber caved in to the wishes of the House at the bicameral conference committee which restored the full P150 million in confidential funds allocated for the Department of Education headed by Vice President Sara Duterte.

“While there were disagreements on some issues during the bicameral conference committee meetings, both panels found common ground in the need to ensure that assistance is given to those who require it the most and to keep the momentum going in the country’s move towards economic recovery,” Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said in a statement.

Among the features in the budget that Angara touted are “targeted ayuda” which include the continuation of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, medical assistance for the poor, free public transportation, scholarships for students, assistance to buy fuel, and increasing the pension of senior citizens.

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