Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman (PNA photo by Avito C. Dalan)

MANILA – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) will be submitting the Marcos administration’s first spending plan to Congress on Monday.

In a video message during an economic forum hosted by Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines and the San Miguel Corp., Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman announced that the DBM would submit the proposed PHP5.268-trillion national budget for 2023 to the Congress.

“[We] have already presented the administration’s first National Expenditure Program or NEP amounting to PHP5.268 to President Marcos Jr. on July 28 and we are gearing up for its submission to the19th Congress on Monday, August 22,” she said in her speech.

Pangandaman admitted that “it was not easy” to prepare the NEP after the country's gains were undermined by inflationary pressures and external conflicts.

“But this only strengthens our resolve to ensure that the government’s programs, activities, and projects will reach every Filipino and improve their quality of life amid the pandemic, through our recovery and beyond,” she added.

She said the 2023 NEP is anchored on the theme “Agenda for Prosperity: Economic Transformation Towards Inclusivity and Sustainability.”

“Our agenda for prosperity focuses on food safety and security and human capital and infrastructure development among other priority sectors. It is anchored on the administration’s overarching goals of creating more quality and green jobs, reducing poverty incidence, promoting digitalization, and achieving an inclusive and resilient economy,” she said.

In a press conference during the event, Budget Undersecretary Joselito Basilio said the NEP is already being printed.

"Everything is on time. Things have been polished already," he said.

The proposed national budget for 2023 is 4.9 percent higher than this year's PHP5.024 trillion national budget.

Pangandaman said Marcos wanted to stick to the timeline and pass the proposed budget before December this year.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the NEP should be submitted to Congress within 30 days after the opening of the regular session of Congress, which coincides with the delivery of the President's State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The Constitution provides that the SONA must be held every fourth Monday of July.

Marcos' first SONA was held on July 25. (PNA)