MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives has realigned a total of P77.5 billion in the proposed P5.268-trillion budget for 2023, Speaker Martin Romualdez said in a press statement on Wednesday, October 5.
After a period of amendments in the House following the approval of the appropriations bill on September 28, budget requests were augmented “to address the current economic, health, energy and environmental crises that burden millions of Filipinos,” Romualdez’s office said.
- P20.25 billion for various programs of the Department of Health such as medical assistance for indigent patients (P13 billion); allowances for healthcare and non-healthcare workers and frontline workers (P5 billion); additional funding for the Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Philippine Children’s Medical Center Health (P500 million each); 10 dialysis assistance centers throughout the Philippines (P270 million or P27 million each); Cancer Assistance Program (P250-million)
- P12.5 billion for the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (P5 billion); upgrading senior citizens’ pension through the National Commission of Senior Citizens (P5 billion); and Sustainable Livelihood Program (P2.5 billion)
- P10.581-B for the Department of Education’s school building/classroom construction (P10 billion) and special education programs (P581 million)
- P10 billion for the Department of Public Works and Highways to construct water systems in underserved upland barangays
- P5.5 billion for Department of Transportation programs to address the rising cost of fuel like the fuel subsidy program, Libreng Sakay, and bike lane construction
- P5 billion for the training and scholarship programs of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
- P5 billion for the Commission on Higher Education’s Tulong Dunong Program
- P5 billion for livelihood and emergency employment programs of the Department of Labor and Employment
- P1.5 billion for the national broadband project of the Department of Information and Communications Technology
- P500 million for UP-PGH
- P500 million for the new Commission on Elections building
- P300 million for the Philippine National Police to train law enforcers to be conducted by the Department of Justice and National Prosecution Service
- P250 million for the Department of Trade and Industry to assist the creative industry pursuant to Republic Act 11904
- P150 million for the Energy Regulatory Commission
- P147 million for the Office of the Solicitor General
- P50 million for the National Electrification Administration’s barangay and sitio electrification program
The Makabayan bloc had earlier complained that the approved budget by the House does not directly address the immediate needs of struggling Filipinos, and lacked funding for programs on social amelioration or “ayuda.”
The House, led by Romualdez who is President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s cousin, passed the budget only 37 days after it received the appropriations request from the executive.
The Senate is currently scrutinizing the proposed budget.
After the Marcos administration’s budget request hurdles the Senate, both houses of Congress will meet at a bicameral conference to settle differences between the two appropriations bills that they approved. The enrolled bill on the budget will be sent to the President for signing. – Rappler.com