Marcos signs P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.  signed the 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA) which contains the P5.768-trillion budget that will be tapped to fund the administration’s key programs and projects for next year to expedite the country’s recovery in a post-pandemic era.

Marcos signed Republic Act (RA) 11975, the law that appropriates funds for the national government’s operations from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2024, in a ceremony at Malacañan Palace in Manila on Wednesday afternoon.

“Although it is teeming with numbers, this budget is more than a spreadsheet of amounts, or a ledger of projects. Rather, it details our battle plan in fighting poverty and combating illiteracy, in producing food and ending hunger, in protecting our homes and securing our border, treating the sick, keeping our people healthy, creating jobs, and funding livelihoods,” he said in a keynote speech.

“It is wrong to say that the budget merely pays for the overhead of the bureaucracy. It is more than that. It funds the elimination of problems that we as a nation must overcome. It is incorrect to say that the budget merely finances the operations of government because its fine print bankrolls the realization of our dreams writ large,” Marcos added.

The expenditure items in the 2024 GAA, when translated to projects, would transform the country and the Filipinos’ lives “for the better”, adding that the national budget for next year would help boost “both the physical and human capital of the nation”, he said.

Marcos, however, acknowledged that the budget for 2024 is not enough to fully fund his administration’s plans for the country.

“How I wish that we could wipe out with one budget cycle all our infrastructure backlog. How I wish we had ‘unli’ revenues to realize our country’s limited unlimited potential,” he said.

Marcos reminded the government agencies to spend their respective budget appropriations “for the correct purposes, the right way, on time, and on budget.”

“I say this to remind those who will execute this budget that red tape, at least to underspending and overspending that disregards legal guardrails, are two sides of the same coin. Implementation delay and illegal deviations inflict the same havoc of denying the people of the progress and development that they deserve,” he said.

The 2024 GAA, which is equivalent to 21.7 percent of gross domestic product, is 9. 5 percent higher compared to the PHP5.268 trillion budget for 2023.

It is anchored on the framework provided by the Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) that is geared towards achieving the country’s economic goals specifically identified in the current administration’s Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF), the Eight-Point Socioeconomic Agenda and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028.

“So with this reminder comes the most important budget commandment that we must all must heed: We are working for the people, not for ourselves. We are working for the country, not for ourselves. Honor the taxpayers who make the budget possible and in doing so we will bring closer to the brighter tomorrow that we aspire— for Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines)? that we all envision for our people,” Marcos added.

The 2024 budget prioritizes expenditure items that advance social and economic transformation through programs that promote food security, reduction of transport and logistics costs, improved health system, strengthened social protection, sound fiscal management and enhanced bureaucratic efficiency.