The Bicameral Conference Committee has approved its report on the proposed P5.268 trillion national budget for 2023 after both chambers of Congress reconciled differences in their respective versions of the bill last December 5.
This development means that the proposed budget for next year would soon be forwarded to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for his signature.
The bicam panel’s version has restored P150-million confidential funds for the Department of Education (DepEd), which were initially cut to just P30 million by the Senate.
Moreover, the committee also restored the P10-billion budget of serial red-tagger National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which was initially slashed down by the Senate to P5 billion.
Reacting to these budget restorations, opposition senator Risa Hontiveros said the Congress “missed an opportunity to show its independence.”
“Congress has shown its malleability to the whims of the administration and has squandered an opportunity offered by the Senate for more transparency and accountability and less opportunities for corruption. We failed to demonstrate that we do hold the power of the purse,” said Hontiveros, who voted against the bicam report.
Thumbnail photo made via Canva