Pending a thorough perusal of the President’s 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) which was submitted this morning to the House of Representatives, it is opportune to remind Congressmembers that while the President proposes the national budget, it is the Congress, more particularly the House of Representatives, which disposes and approves the national budget through the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The proposed budget items in the NEP are subject to realignment, modification, alteration, reduction, and/or increase, provided the budget ceiling of P5.768-T is not exceeded.
The GAA is a veritable policy statement on the government’s priority programs and projects. It is incumbent on Congress to rectify in the NEP wayward policies and rescue proposed funds which are waylaid for favored agencies and concerns.
The Congress must also excise any budgetary fat, whether overtly or covertly hidden in the NEP.
The congressional power of the purse in the appropriation of public funds must be honored and respected even as legislators acknowledge the President’s power to disburse appropriated funds with dispatch and impartiality.
EDCEL C. LAGMAN