THE bicameral committee of Congress approved on Monday, December 5, 2022, the consolidated version of the P5.268-trillion proposed budget for 2023.

The committee report contains the reconciled version of the proposed budget from the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senate finance panel chairperson Sonny Angara said among the provisions approved by the committee was the restoration of the P150 million confidential and intelligence funds of the Department of Education (DepEd), which was earlier brought down by the Senate to just P30 million.

Angara said the P10 billion 2023 proposed budget for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) was also retained.

In the House version, the proposed budget for the NTF-Elcac was slashed down to P5 billion due to its poor accomplishment.

Angara said the confidential and intelligence funds of the Department of Foreign Affairs (P5 million), Department of Justice (P19.2 million), Department of Social Welfare and Development (P2 million), other executive offices (P6 million) and Office of the Ombudsman (P20 million), which was realigned to the said agencies’ maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) under the Senate version was also approved.

He said the reconciled version of the 2023 proposed budget is expected to be ratified by both houses within the day.

It is also expected to be approved by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on or before December 15. (SunStar Philippines)