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Marcos wants Congress to prioritize 2023 budget

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
Marcos wants Congress to prioritize 2023 budget
Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. speaks to reporters at the campaign heaquarters in Manila on May 11, 2022. Marcos on May 11 claimed victory in the presidential election, vowing to be a leader "for all Filipinos," his spokesman said.
AFP / Ron Lopez

MANILA, Philippines — Presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he will work closely with the incoming 19th Congress for the immediate passage of the 2023 national budget, stressing the need for his administration to look for other sources of income to fund his administration’s programs and projects.

“We will have to look to the new budget, the budget for 2023 which is presently being written. We have to look at that to find sufficient funds for the things that we want to do,” Marcos said at a press briefing yesterday.

Marcos said that while it is expected that not the entire budget for 2022 will be spent by government offices by the end of the year, his administration must start looking for additional sources of funds, especially as his administration aims to pass a measure that would give stimulus packages for the businesses severely affected by the COVID pandemic.

“Though (the 2022 budget) has been disbursed, not all of it has been spent, so meron pa tayong (we still have) breathing room pero konti na lang (but just a little), and so that’s why we will have to look at the new budget, the budget for 2023,” he said.

Marcos said his administration intends to allocate funds for investment-led expenditures which will bring profits to the government.

“We will do away with non-investment expenditures. So, more investment-led expenditures again to revitalize, to really redo the economy,” Marcos said.

He, however, was cool on the proposal to sell some government assets in order to generate more funds to pay for the country’s growing debts.

“I’m always very wary of selling government assets. As a matter of principle, I’d rather not,” Marcos said.

Economic expert Albay Rep. Joey Salceda had earlier urged the incoming administration to sell some government assets including the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and some portions of Manila Bay to raise about P500 billion for debt payments.

As of March this year, the government had incurred P13 trillion in debts.

‘BBM package’

A senior administration lawmaker has expressed support for the planned budgetary support of the incoming leadership of the House of Representatives to provide the Marcos administration financial assistance to the distressed.

“It is crucial that we extend to the incoming administration the widest range of budgetary tools to address the continuing effects of the pandemic on affected sectors and bring the economy back on its feet,” Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said.

The chairman of the House committee on social services said the poor and other vulnerable sectors of society should continue to receive expanded social protection and other forms of government assistance.

He also suggested government should explore aid mechanisms for micro, small and medium enterprises, tourism establishments and small private schools in the form of employee wage grants, interest-free loans or other forms of assistance to help them recover.

“Our economic recovery rests on the recovery of businesses and enterprises whose operations will help provide jobs and stimulate economic activity,” the outgoing lawmaker said.

“Before the pandemic, our tourism and education sectors and our MSMEs have underpinned our country’s economic growth and job generation program. Needless to state, these sectors and enterprises must be given priority in any economic recovery initiative,” he added.

In a resolution he filed, Vargas urged his fellow House members and incoming members of Congress to support the “Bayan Bangon Muli” economic stimulus and mutual aid package being proposed by incoming speaker Martin Romualdez.

Such support, he said, is an expression of “genuine unity in addressing the pandemic, similar to (his) advocacy for whole-of-nation, whole-of-government and even whole-of-society approaches to rebuilding the country’s economy and the lives of all our fellow Filipinos.” – Delon Porcalla

BARANGAY ISOLATION CENTERS

CONGRESS

NATIONAL BUDGET

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