MANILA, Sept 12 (Mabuhay) —

The proposed 2023 budget is targeted to be signed by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by mid-December, Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said over the weekend.

Angara — who heads the Senate Committee on Finance — said the 2023 budget bill is set to be passed by late November, following the completion of plenary debates in early to mid-November.

Hearings by the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) are set to start on Tuesday, September 13, and are targeted to be finished by mid-October.

“As to sectors we hope to continue strengthening the health sector and health system particularly PGH (Philippine General Hospital) — which lawmakers for the last few years have been increasing the funding proposed by the executive in the NEP,” Angara said.

Under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) for 2023, the University of the Philippines (UP) System is set to receive P23.1 billion, down from the P25.6-billion budget it was allocated this year.

The UP System budget covers the PGH, which has a proposed allocation of P5.412 billion, or down from the P6.302 billion it received this year.

Angara said lawmakers will also focus on marginalized sectors hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic through programs that seek to boost recovery.

The senator said they will also push to include support for entrepreneurs through credit programs, and increase training and skills programs for the youth.

“These are a few initiatives we hope to work together to push going forward,” he said.

Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman last month said the proposed P5.628-trillion budget is crafted to withstand future risks, challenges, and shocks, with a 4.9% increase from 2022.

The proposed budget was formally submitted to the House of Representatives in August, with deliberations targeted to be completed before October 1. (MNS)