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Marcos expected to sign 2023 budget before December 15

Helen Flores - The Philippine Star
Marcos expected to sign 2023 budget before December 15
President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. delivered his speech at Villamor Air Base on November 14, 2022 after attending the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summit and related summits in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos is expected to sign into law the proposed P5.26-trillion national budget for 2023 before Dec. 15, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said yesterday.

The bicameral conference committee – composed of representatives from the Senate and the House of Representatives – is eyeing to come up with a reconciled version of the national spending plan as it wraps up its deliberation on the 2023 General Appropriations Bill on Monday.

“The bicam will end by Dec. 5. The target date of signing by the President is before Dec. 15, hopefully. But I’m sure before New Year, this will be signed and we will have a new budget,” Gatchalian said on the sidelines of the commemoration of the 159th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio in Caloocan City.

Gatchalian chairs the Senate committee on finance sub-committee E.

Think-tank Infrawatch PH earlier urged lawmakers to trim “a huge amount of fat” hidden within the proposed P5.26-trillion budget for 2023 in the form of confidential and intelligence funds (CIFs).

“What we are saying is that there is still such a great amount of fat that needs to be trimmed, particularly in the confidential and intelligence funds,” Infrawatch convenor and former Kabataan party-list congressman Terry Ridon said in a recent interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News.

Opposition Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Risa Hontiveros have raised concern over the P9.3-billion CIFs for various agencies that have nothing to do with intelligence, information or data gathering activities.

Marcos is proposing a P4.5-billion CIF for his office next year, while Vice President Sara Duterte is seeking a P500-million CIF under her office’s P2.3-billion proposed allocation.

The Senate realigned P152 million worth of CIFs to various agencies when it passed the proposed 2023 national budget on third and final reading last week.

Committee senior vice chair and Marikina Rep. Stella Luz Quimbo has expressed belief that the House and the Senate will find common ground, as they will be guided by Marcos’ eight-point socioeconomic agenda.

The proposed P5.26-trillion 2023 national budget is 4.9 percent higher than this year’s budget, according to the Department of Budget and Management. `– Lawrence Agcaoili

MARCOS JR.

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