House starts floor debates on P5.768-trillion 2024 budget on Tuesday; eyes approval before break

THE House of Representatives will start plenary deliberations on the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for 2024 on Tuesday.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Sunday said the House is on track to expeditiously approve the budget submitted by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. before Congress goes on recess later this month.

He said the House would send the appropriations bill to the Senate upon its approval.

“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,” Speaker Romualdez said.

The leader of the 311-member House of Representatives added that the measure “will support the President’s prosperity and economic recovery roadmap.”

“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 stressed.

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 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, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Information and Communications Technology, Department of Migrant Workers, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of Interior and Local Government, including their attached agencies, and funding support for several government corporations.

On September 25, it will be the turn budgets of the Civil Service Commission, Commission on Audit, Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, Department of Health, and additional OP agencies to be considered.

Proposed appropriations for the OP, Office of the Vice President, Department of Education, Metro Manila Development Authority, and Dangerous Drugs Board and several other OP agencies, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be tackled on September 26.

September 27, Wednesday, will be the last day of budget deliberation.

If needed, the House of Representatives can still hold session until September 29.

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.

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