MOVING FORWARD. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (center), surrounded by lawmakers, signs into law the 2023 General Appropriations in Malacañang on Friday (Dec. 16, 2022). In a statement, Finance committee chair Senator Sonny Angara (front, 4th from left) said the PHP5.268 trillion national budget will ensure that assistance is given to those who require it the most and that the momentum is sustained toward economic recovery. (PNA photo by Alfred Frias)

MANILA – The signing of the 2023 General Appropriations Act (GAA) by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will mean a continuation of the government's efforts to sustain economic growth and provide more opportunities for Filipinos.

Senator Sonny Angara, chair of the Committee on Finance, assured Friday that Congress worked hard to ensure that the PHP5.268 trillion national budget is signed within the year.

"While there were disagreements on some issues during the bicameral conference committee meetings, both panels found common ground in the need to ensure that assistance is given to those who require it the most and to keep the momentum going in the country’s move towards economic recovery," he said in a statement.

Angara said the targeted aid for Filipinos most affected by the pandemic will continue citing the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps); medical assistance for indigent patients; Libreng Sakay (Free Ride) Program; scholarships; fuel subsidy for drivers and operators and farmers and fisherfolk; and pension increase for indigent senior citizens.

Benefits and allowances for health frontliners are also included in the 2023 GAA.

"Malaking bahagi ng 2023 GAA, mahigit PHP170 billion, ay nakatugon sa sektor ng agrikultura kung saan ang ating Pangulo mismo ang personal na nakatutok (A huge chunk of the 2023 GAA, more than PHP170 billion, will help the agriculture sector which our President personally leads)," he said.

Angara said while deliberating on the 2023 GAA, Congress was well aware of the need for the government to make productive investments in human and physical capital in order to empower the people, generate revenues, and address the most pressing needs of Filipinos.

"As stated by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., this budget is anchored on an agenda for prosperity. We are no longer at a point where we are catching up and reacting to the developments just like the past two years," he noted.

The lawmaker thanked his fellow lawmakers for their various contributions and efforts to make sure that the 2023 budget is approved without delay.

President Marcos, who arrived Thursday night from his official visit to Belgium, signed the 2023 GAA in Malacañang on Friday. (PNA)