Romualdez vows ‘utmost diligence’ as budget deliberations begin

Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez on Thursday assured the public that the House of Representatives will scrutinize the proposed 2024 national budget with transparency and 'utmost diligence' to ensure the prudent allocation of resources in support of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s 8-point socioeconomic agenda and the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. 'With an unyielding commitment to unity and accountability, let me assure you that the House of the People will diligently, swiftly, and resolutely take action on the proposed budget as outlined in the national expenditure program,' Romualdez said in his opening statement at the start of a briefing given by members of the administration's economic team on the proposed budget. He stressed that the budget deliberation is a meticulous exercise that requires 'accuracy, objectivity, and most of all, transparency' and it is the duty of the House to completely scrutinize the proposed 2024 national budget and deliver results that would sustain the gains of the past year and support the government's priorities and policy directions. 'We need to closely examine the budget proposals of every department and agency, and analyze every program, activity and project to ensure that the resources are allocated and optimized on the right priorities that address the economic and social challenges of our beloved country,' he said. 'With utmost diligence, we will ensure that every centavo of the proposed PHP5.768-trillion budget will be judiciously spent. Obligasyon po natin na tiyakin na bawat sentimong buwis na ibinabayad ng ating mga kababayan ay magagamit ng tama at nararapat. Bawat sentimo nila, may serbisyong kapalit mula sa gobyerno (It is our obligation to ensure that every centavo of the taxes paid by our people will be used properly and justifiably. Each centavo will have a corresponding service form the government),' Romualdez said. Romualdez also said the 2024 general appropriations bill would be passed by the House of Representatives within five weeks -- four weeks in the committee level and one week in plenary -- before Congress goes on its October recess 'I am confident that the House of Representatives will be able to deliberate and pass the national budget on time and transmit the same to the Senate. I can assure everyone that the House of Representatives will not take a break until and unless we have passed this very important legislation,' he said. To achieve this, he called on his colleagues to actively participate in the budget deliberation, listen and respect everyone's view, particularly the concerns of the minority, and 'reach a consensus that is beneficial to the country, especially the poor and marginalized among our people.' 'Together, let us be a champion of fiscal prudence, effective resource allocation, and transparent governance. Through our collective efforts, we will continue to uplift the lives of the Filipino people and pave the way for the Philippines with a brighter future,' Romualdez said. The budget briefing by the Development Budget Coordination Committee marked the beginning of hearings on the budget proposal that President Marcos has submitted to Congress. It was conducted by Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Eli Remolona

Source: Philippines News Agency