‘Small committee’ to finalize amendments to 2024 budget on Oct. 10

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — The four-member small committee authorized by the House of Representatives to amend the proposed ₱5.768-trillion national budget for 2024 has set a deadline of Oct. 10 to finish its task.

Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, who heads the panel as chairman of the House appropriations committee, said in a message on Wednesday that there are various items in the proposed budget that will be amended or realigned, including the confidential and intelligence funds of various civilian agencies.

He added that the changes to the proposed budget will be announced “at the proper time.”

The committee held its first meeting on Tuesday to vet the proposed amendments submitted by lawmakers to House Bill 8980, or the 2024 general appropriations bill, which was approved on third and final reading on Sept. 27.

The other members of the panel are Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, the senior vice chairperson of the House appropriations panel; House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe and House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan.

In a separate statement, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said government agencies which are not entitled to confidential funds should be stripped of such allocations instead of merely having their proposed allotments reduced as a courtesy.

Co earlier announced that the Department of Education and the Office of the Vice President, both under Vice President Sara Duterte, will lose a combined ₱650 million in confidential funds for 2024.

The amount will be realigned to agencies tasked with national security, in particular: the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the National Security Council, the Philippine Coast Guard, and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The executive branch has requested for ₱10.14 billion in confidential and intelligence funds next year across various agencies.

Last week, Quimbo said some 10 civilian offices will be affected by the realignment of confidential funds.