Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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The budget bill for 2024 has been approved by the House.


Reworded: Written by Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, a reporter.

On Wednesday evening, the Philippine House of Representatives passed the P5.786-trillion national budget for the upcoming year on its third and final reading.

The budget for 2024 is 9.5% greater than the current year’s budget and makes up 21.7% of the country’s GDP.

Legislators passed House Bill 8980, also known as the General Appropriations bill, on its second and third readings in a single day. This was made possible after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. designated the bill as a matter of urgency.

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez stated before adjournment that we are certain that each centavo aligns with the larger goals of promoting economic transformation that is inclusive and sustainable. This also falls in line with the administration’s medium-term fiscal framework, the eight-point socioeconomic agenda, and the Philippine Development Plan (PDP).

Earlier, a group of Congress members formed a small committee to address specific changes to the bill.

The Senate is currently conducting hearings regarding the budgets of various agencies and plans to pass the measure on its final reading by November.

During her speech in the opposing session, Deputy Minority Leader and Party-list Representative France L. Castro pointed out that the proposed budget does not significantly deviate from past budgets. She also mentioned that there are inadequate allocations for food, labor, and social services.

The bill was voted on by Assistant Minority Leader and Party-list Representative Arlene D. Brosas, who opposed it due to the budget’s biased agenda.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Representative Elizaldy S. Co, stated that the House plans to redirect the total amount of P650 million from the confidential and intelligence funds of the Office of the Vice President and Department of Education to the budgets of intelligence and security forces. This move is in response to increasing tensions with China.

Some of the organizations that will receive advantages from the funds for intelligence are the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), National Security Council (NSA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.

The Senate has also pledged to redistribute confidential and intelligence funds to appropriate security organizations.