Romualdez assures public: 2024 nat’l budget will be pork barrel-free
MANILA, Philippines — Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez assured the public on Wednesday that the 2024 national budget will be pork barrel-free.
Speaking at a ceremony for the formal submission of the proposed P5.768 trillion National Expenditures Program (NEP) for next year by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Romualdez promised that the House of Representatives under his leadership will “scrutinize, deliberate, and pass the  national budget” before Congress takes a recess in October.
“Sisiguruhin namin dito sa Kongreso na lahat ng buwis na ibinayad ng ating mamamayan ay maibabalik sa kanila sa pamamagitan nga mga programa at proyekto ng gobyerno. Bawat pisong nai-dagdag sa kaban ng bayan, mapapakinabangan ng taumbayan,” he said.
(We here in Congress will guarantee that all the taxes paid by our people will be returned to them through government programs and projects. Every peso added to the public treasury will benefit the people.)
“With everyone’s participation and cooperation, I am confident that the House of Representatives will be able to scrutinize, deliberate, and pass the national budget that is pork barrel-free for 2024 before we go on our first recess in October,” he added.
Romualdez also thanked the DBM for submitting the NEP early – less than 10 days since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) – as it gives the House more time to deliberate and check the proposed national budget.
“Your submission of the proposed national budget program in less than 10 days from the start of the regular session of Congress provides the House ample time to study, discuss and deliberate on the finer points of the proposal and formulate a national budget that is responsive to the development needs of the country,” he said.
“Maraming salamat po sa pagbibigay sa amin ng sapat na panahon para pag-aralan ang proposal ng Executive Department. Dahil sa maagang pagtanggap ng 2024 NEP, asahan ninyo na magiging mabilis din ang aksyon ng Kongreso para maipasa ang budget sa lalong madaling panahon,” he also said.
(Thank you very much for giving us enough time to study the proposal of the Executive Department. Given the early adoption of the 2024 NEP, expect Congress to act quickly to pass the budget as soon as possible.)
The DBM officially transmitted the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024 to the House on Wednesday.
Initial information from the DBM showed that the proposed budget is 9.8 percent higher than the P5.267 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the enacted budget for 2023.
As mandated by the 1987 Constitution, the education sector gets the highest allocation in the proposed 2024 national budget with P924.7 billion, which is higher than the P895.2 billion approved in the 2023 GAA.
Public works or infrastructure programs get P822.2 billion in the proposed 2024 national budget, which is lower than 2023’s P894.2 billion. Allocation to health decreased from P314.7 billion in the 2023 GAA to P306.1 billion in the 2024 NEP.
But proposed appropriation for defense increased in the 2024 NEP to P232.2 billion from P203.4 billion in the 2023 GAA. Budget shares for transportation (P106.0 billion to P214.3 billion) and social welfare (P199.5 billion to P209.9 billion) likewise increased under next year’s proposed NEP.