THE HOUSE of Representatives will prioritize the 2025 national budget once Congress resumes sessions next month, Speaker and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez said on Sunday.

The government of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is proposing a P6.2-trillion budget for next year, 7.6% more than this year, he said in a statement.

The Speaker said the Budget department is expected to submit the proposed appropriations after the president’s state of the nation address on July 22. “That is the biggest and most important piece of legislation.”

The House will discuss the budgets of the different agencies from August to October.

House leaders last month said they are looking at increasing the budgets of Defense agencies and the Philippine Coast Guard amid Chinese aggression in the South China Sea.

Tensions between the Philippines and China have worsened in the past year as Beijing continues to block resupply missions to Second Thomas Shoal, where Manila grounded a World War II-era ship in 1999 to assert its sovereignty.

A United Nations-backed tribunal based in the Hague in 2016 voided China’s expansive claims in the waterway for being illegal.

The 19th Congress will open its third and last session next month. — Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio