MANILA – A lawmaker on Wednesday called on the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and other implementing government agencies to determine and anticipate how much funding would be required for "soon-to-be" laws before submitting the proposed 2024 national budget to Congress.
Ang Probinsyano Party-list Representative and Deputy Majority Leader Alfred Delos Santos said the executive branch has a lead time of two months between now and when the National Expenditure Program (NEP) -- the executive branch's version of the national budget -- is formally submitted to figure out how much funding is needed to implement the proposed measures that would soon be enacted into law.
“The 19th Congress is counting on the executive agencies to effectively and faithfully implement the laws it has and will soon pass. Legislation is half of the work done, but the other half is just as crucial, and a key part of that is funding, especially in the first year,” Delos Santos said.
Delos Santos was referring to the proposed Immigration Modernization Act or House Bill (HB) 8203 and the Philippine Center for Disease Control Act (HB 6522).
HB 6522 seeks to establish the network of medical and testing facilities that are the country’s line of defense against pandemics, epidemics and outbreaks.
Meanwhile, HB 8203, which seeks to modernize the Bureau of Immigration, would formally establish the organizational setup of the bureau, expand its powers and attune the bureau to its current role as a border control agency of the national government.
Delos Santos said the implementing agencies were thoroughly consulted while the proposed pieces of legislation were still bills going through the legislative pipeline, noting that they are "quite aware" of the budget implications of each bill.
"It is now a matter of follow-up and thoroughness on their part because Congress has done its part," he said.
“A few other pieces of legislation are on their way to the desk of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, such as the Veterans Disability Pension Act and the Condonation of Unpaid CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) Loans Act, and we expect the funding for those to be in the proposed 2024 budget as well,” he added.
The Veterans Disability Pension bill (HB 7939) proposes to raise the monthly pensions to PHP4,500 to PHP11,000 from the old rates ranging from PHP1,000 to PHP1,700.
The CARP bill under House Bill 6336, on the other hand, proposes conditional condonation of all unpaid interests, penalties and surcharges of agricultural and agrarian reform credit secured by farmers, fisherfolk, agrarian reform beneficiaries, CDA-registered cooperatives, agrarian reform beneficiary organizations and farmer organizations from the Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Agriculture, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation, Cooperative Development Authority, National Food Authority and the Quedan and Rural Credit Guarantee Corporation. (PNA)