Senate approves P5.77-trillion national budget for 2024

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
Senate approves P5.77-trillion national budget for 2024
Senators gather to ratify the Maharlika Investment Fund bill at the Session Hall on May 31, 2023.
STAR / Mong Pintolo

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate on Tuesday approved on final reading the bill that contains the government’s P5.77-trillion national spending plan for 2024. 

The 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) — or House Bill 8980 — received 21 affirmative votes and no negative votes, while one senator abstained.

Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel abstained from voting due to concerns with the president’s certification of the national budget as urgent — a tag that allows legislative measures to go through second and final reading on the same day.

In an explanation manifested before he cast his vote, Pimentel said that he objects to the “use of a presidential certification for the budget” even as there is no emergency or calamity justifying its certification.

In September, Marcos certified the bill containing the proposed 2024 budget — which is higher by 9.5% compared to this year's P5.268-trillion budget — as urgent.

The Senate inserted amendments to the House’s version of the GAB that raised the budget for agencies concerned with security, livelihood, education and others, according to Senate finance committee chairperson Sonny Angara, but he did not disclose the exact amounts involved for each change.

Sponsoring the proposed 2024 budget during the plenary, Angara mentioned that some agencies related to national defense and security received higher funding. These include the Department of National Defense and the “different service branches of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

More funds will go to the Philippine Army and the Philppine Navy for the purchase of more equipment, Angara said.

Angara added that the Philippine National Police will get a higher budget for the purchase of more body cameras to “ensure transparency and accountability … and (for the PNP) to uphold peace and security."

The Philippine Coast Guard will also “receive significant augmentation in its capital outlay,” according to the senator.

The Senate finance panel chairperson added that in the education sector, the programs that will receive more funds are the following:

  • School building program
  • GASTPE senior high school voucher program
  • ESC scholarships
  • Scholarships in state universities and colleges
  • Financial assistance for SUCs
  • CHED’s “Tulong Dunong” program
  • Child protection program

Angara also noted that the Department of Education’s learner support program was augmented with an additional P50 million budget to “strengthen ongoing mental health programs and advocacies.”

He said that other programs under the Department of Agriculture and other agencies will also receive higher funding.

However, Angara did not mention which agencies retained their confidential funds in the Senate version of the GAB. 

The budget will now be discussed in a bicameral conference to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of the House and Senate’s versions. 

Once ratified by lawmakers from both chambers, the proposed spending plan will be transmitted to Malacañang for the president's signature. 

Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said on Tuesday that the president may sign the national budget before his trip to Japan which will take place December 16 to 18.

vuukle comment




  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with