Proposed P5.768-T 2024 budget nearly done, may be submitted days after Sona — Pangandaman
MANILA, Philippines — The P5.768 trillion proposed national budget for 2024 just needs to be presented to the Cabinet officials on Thursday, June 22, before the final approval, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman said on Wednesday.
Pangandaman, at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum, said that they had already shown the budget to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday, while the Cabinet officials can have their chance to look and check the proposal by Thursday afternoon.
“After a couple of weeks of sleepless nights, we had marathon meetings on the budget; as you know, budget preps, usually starts in February first quarter of the year, we release the budget call, and then after that, the agencies will submit their requests to us and then we hold a couple, a series of meetings with the departments and agencies for them to justify their budget proposals,” she said.
“So natapos po lahat ‘yan last week, two weeks po ‘yan na walang tulugan kasama ang (We finished all of that for two weeks including) DBM, and we’re happy that we are now in the final stages of the preparation, we had a meeting yesterday morning with the President, we showed the budget to him already, and the same will be presented to the cabinet tomorrow afternoon for the final approval,” she added.
According to Pangandaman, after the proposed budget is approved by cabinet officials, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) can start printing the 2024 National Expenditures Program (NEP).
The DBM chief said they could submit the NEP to Congress after President Marcos’ second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24, which is faster than their submission for the 2023 budget proposal in 2022 — when the DBM nearly hit the 30-day deadline for budget submissions set by the Constitution.
“And once approved by the cabinet so that they will be able to see their levels na po, ‘yong mga Cabinet secretaries natin, we will already start with the printing of the NEP until maybe the Sona. Under the Constitution po we should submit the national expenditures program one month after the Sona. On our calendar, we will submit our NEP to the Congress one week after the 24th,” Pangandaman said.
“So within that week maybe, because Sona po Monday usually ‘yan, I’m not sure if kaya natin until Thursday that week. If not Monday the (next) week,” she added.
(So within that week, maybe, because Sona falls on a Monday. I’m not sure if we can submit it by Thursday that week. If not, Monday the (next) week.)
Pangandaman also admitted that the proposed budget for 2024 increased by 9.5 percent compared to the P5.268 trillion submitted in 2023, but she maintained that it is still one of the lowest annual budget increments.
“It’s P5.768 trillion, madali po siyang maalala, and 9.5 percent (growth). It’s quite an increase from the 4.9 percent (increase) no’ng 2022 to 2023, but still one of the lowest. Kasi usually po ang budget increase po natin is 10 to 12, 15 percent. Maybe because we’re still exiting the pandemic and we’re trying to revive the economy, so according to our Medium Term Fiscal Framework by 2025, 2026, papalo na po ‘yong more than 10 percent increase of the budget,” she said.
(It’s P5.768 trillion, it can easily be remembered, and it’s a 9.5 percent increase. It’s quite an increase from the 4.9 percent from 2022 to 2023, but still one of the lowest. Usually, our budget increase is around 10 to 12, 15 percent. Maybe because we’re still exiting the pandemic and we’re trying to revive the economy, so according to our Medium Term Fiscal Framework, by 2025, 2026, the increase of the budget would hit more than 10 percent.)
“We will still fund ‘yong mga (the several) major programs that we funded this year; the first po is ‘yong education it will always be top of the priority per our constitution. Infrastructure has been neglected in terms of investments for the last 20 years, it will still be from five percent to six percent of GDP (gross domestic product),” she added.
For the 2023 budget, the government shifted its attention towards the agriculture sector — an area that President Marcos said is of high importance under his administration.
Previously, Pangandaman assured the public that they are retaining funding for key services like targeted cash transfers which benefit people along poverty lines.