The Manila Times : BBM wants programs in 2023 budget

By Mayvelin U. Caraballo | The Manila Times

INCOMING Budget secretary Amenah Pangandaman said she was instructed by President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to ensure that his priority initiatives and projects are included in the 2023 National Expenditure Program (NEP).

In a statement released on Thursday, she said, "I aspire to draft and implement a budget that will promote a broad-based and inclusive economic recovery and growth… President-elect Marcos' priority programs are in line with that."

Marcos' focus areas, Pangandaman noted, are agricultural and food security; climate change adaptation; economic recovery, improved health care and education; enhanced infrastructure projects, including digital infrastructure; use of renewable energy sources; strengthened tourism and job creation; and sustainable development, among others, with the goal of economic reconstruction.

The incoming Budget chief also said that the new administration's whole economic team will meet shortly and that she will work with them to carry out the President-elect's campaign pledges.

The proposed budget under the NEP is accompanied by the President's Budget Message, which outlines the budget's policy focus and priorities, Pangandaman explained. According to the constitution, this must be submitted to Congress within 30 days from the opening of the regular session.

The House of Representatives will deliberate on the president's budget, while the Senate will do the same. After that, the two houses of Congress will convene through a bicameral committee to reconcile the various versions of the budget bill before sending it to the president for approval, she added.

The economic team of outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that their projected national budget for 2023 is P5.268 trillion, or around 22.1 percent of the country's gross domestic product.

Pangandaman has previously said under her leadership, the Department of Budget and Management would focus on smart fiscal resource management, adding the government cannot afford to waste a single centavo on useless and idle initiatives.

She also emphasized the importance of strategic expenditure in high-impact capital initiatives that have an economic ripple effect in order to provide additional stimulus.

"As the next Budget secretary, I will push for reforms such as the use of the latest technologies for monitoring the implementation of the projects and improving the transparency of the budget process and execution," Pangandaman added.

The incoming Budget chief also said that she intends to continue investing in infrastructure and human capital development. "I aspire to draft and implement a budget that will promote broad-based and inclusive economic recovery and growth."

She stressed, "Iyong budget na makatao at ramdam ng tao (A budget that is pro-people with an impact on the people)."