By Jovee Marie De La Cruz, September 27, 2022; Business Mirror

To facilitate the immediate passage of the national budget for next year,  President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has certified as urgent the proposed 2023 P5.268-trillion General Appropriations Act.

In a letter to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez dated September 16, President Marcos said the certification is for the “immediate enactment” of House Bill 4488.

The Office of the Speaker only received the letter on Monday, September 26 or 4 days before the one-month break of Congress.

The urgent certification of the measure will pave the way for its swift passage as the bill need not undergo the three-day rule between the second and third reading, with approval on both levels done within the same day.

For his part, Speaker Martin G. Romualdez said the certification from Malacañang will enable the House to approve the 2023 national budget on second and third reading on the same day “which we set on Wednesday.”

Earlier, House Majority Leader and Rules Committee Chair Manuel Jose “Mannix” Dalipe said the House is committed to finish the sponsorship and floor debates by Wednesday (September 28) and approve the budget on or before September 30.

“Pursuant to the provision of Article Vi, Section 26 [2] of the 1987 Constitution, I hereby certify to the necessity of the immediate enactment of House Bill 4488 or an act appropriating funds for the operation of the government of the Republic of the Philippines from January 1 to December 31, 2023,” said the President.

“In order to address the need to maintain continuous government operations following the end of current fiscal year, strengthen efforts to respond more effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic, and support initiatives towards national economic recovery,” Marcos added.

The budget deliberations of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Transportation, Department of Energy, Energy Regulatory Commission,  Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the President, Presidential Management Staff, National Commission on Indigenous People, Congress of the Philippines, Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council are set on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

The members of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) are also expected to attend the plenary debates of the national budget on Wednesday.

The proposed P5.268-trillion national budget, the highest ever if approved by Congress, is P244 billion more than this year’s P5.023.6 trillion spending program. It represents 22.1 of GDP.

For 2023, the Department of Budget and Management said revenues are expected to grow by 10 percent year-on-year to P3.632.9 trillion, or 15.3 percent of GDP, while disbursements will increase by 2.6 percent to P5.085.8 trillion. Deficit, on the other hand, is expected to decline to P1.453.0 trillion, or 6.1 percent of GDP, from this year’s program of P1.650.5 trillion or 7.6 percent of GDP.

By sector, the social services will receive the biggest chunk of the P5.268-trillion national budget with P2.071 trillion; followed by economic services with P1.528 trillion; general public services with P807.2 billion; debt burden with P611 billion and defense P250.7 billion.

This budget proposal would be the first full one-year outlay of the Marcos administration.