The House of Representatives will start the plenary debates on the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024 on Tuesday as it is targeting to finish the budget process on September 27.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, in a statement on Sunday, said the House will approve President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s budget before Congress goes on recess later this month.
He said the House would immediately send the appropriations bill to the Senate for its own deliberations upon its approval in the lower house.
“We will work morning and afternoon and on Thursday and Friday this week to meet our timeline. The national spending bill is the single most important piece of legislation Congress passes every year,” Romualdez said.
“Through the national budget, we hope to sustain our recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, create more income and job opportunities for our people, and improve their quality of life through the timely delivery of basic social services like education, healthcare, infrastructure, and financial aid,” he added.
Plenary debates on Tuesday morning on the proposed 2024 outlay will kick off with sponsorship speeches, followed by debates on general principles and provisions and consideration of the budgets of the Department of Finance, Department of Tourism, and the National Economic and Development Authority, including their attached agencies, and certain offices under the Office of the President (OP).
On deck on Wednesday are the Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Elections, Commission on Human Rights, Department of National Defense, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Trade and Industry, and more OP agencies.
On Thursday, the House will scrutinize the spending proposals of the judiciary, Department of Justice, Department of Agrarian Reform, Presidential Communications Office, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, and state universities and colleges.
Friday will see the chamber considering the budgets of Congress, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Information and Communications Technology, the Department of Migrant Workers, the Department of Labor and Employment, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, including their attached agencies, and funding support for several government corporations.
On September 25, lawmakers will consider the budgets of the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and additional OP agencies.
Proposed appropriations for the OP, Office of the Vice President, Department of Education, Metro Manila Development Authority, Dangerous Drugs Board, and several other OP agencies, the Department of Public Works and Highways, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be tackled on September 26.
September 27, Wednesday, will be the last day of budget deliberation. To be taken up are funding proposals for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Transportation, Department of Budget and Management, and lump-sum appropriations.
Turno en contra speeches and amendments are also scheduled on that day, to be followed by final and third-reading approval of the proposed 2024 national budget.
House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Elizaldy Co and House Committee on Appropriations Senior Vice Chairperson Stella Luz Quimbo assured the public that there will be no reenacted budget for next year.
“We have taken significant strides towards finalizing the 2024 budget, which promises to be a landmark budget focused on national growth and the welfare of the Filipino people,” said Co.
Quimbo, for her part, said, “We need to finish on time; we don’t want a delay, we don’t want a reenactment budget, and we don’t want any form of delay.”
Earlier, the leadership of the House of Representatives vowed to approve in a “transparent manner” the proposed P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget before the congressional break on September 29.
Compared to the current year’s P5.268 trillion in appropriations, the projected budget for the next year is 9.5 percent higher.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes