House cuts own 2024 budget by P 11 billion
The House of Representatives approved on Friday its proposed allocation for both houses of Congress, putting on the table a cut of P10.75 billion in its own funding for 2024.
There were no interpellations during plenary debates on the legislative branch’s proposed funding of P28.426 billion, which is P10.75 billion lower than this year’s approved budget of P39.178 billion.
Congress earmarked P10.107 billion for personnel services and P13.968 billion for maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE), and P4.35 billion for the Senate’s new building in Taguig City.
For 2024, the Senate will be getting P10.833 billion, or higher than this year’s P9.414 billion funding, while the Senate Electoral Tribunal will be getting P312.698 million.
The House of Representatives will be receiving P16.17 billion for next year, or a P11.84 billion cut from this year’s approved funding of P28.014 billion.
Bulk for social services
The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal will be getting P232.5 million for next year.
Meanwhile, the bicameral Commission on Appointments will be receiving P877.727 million for its operations in 2024.
The Marcos administration has proposed a national budget of P5.768 trillion for 2024, or 21.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) of about P25 trillion at current prices. The 2023 budget amounts to P5.268 trillion.
In the budget message he sent Congress with his P5.768-trillion proposal, President Marcos said the social services sector will get the lion’s share with P2.183 trillion, or 37.9 percent.
But much of that will still go to MOOE, which would still be the most significant bulk, in terms of expense category, at 37.4 percent, or P2.156 trillion.
In order to fund the government’s expenditure plan, tax revenues are designed to increase while the government maintains its borrowing stance in 2024.
BSP interest rate hike
The country’s debt-to-GDP ratio will remain at more than 60 percent, although the Department of Finance said the index ratio should go down to below 60 percent by 2025.
At a House hearing on the national expenditure plan, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno assured House representatives that the national budget would help make the Philippines one of the fastest rising economies in the region.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), however, slashed its growth forecast for the Philippines in 2023 from 6 percent in April to 5.7 percent for the entire year because of high inflation.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) also announced a possible interest rate hike in November, ahead of Christmas spending, after holding its policy rate at 6.25 percent for five months.
“A rate hike is on the table for November. How big it will be will depend on the data, how bad the data is with respect to inflation, especially,” BSP Governor Eli Remolina Jr. told reporters.
Pavit Ramachandran, country director of ADB Philippines, maintained, however, that “the Philippines’ growth story remains strong despite an expected moderation in 2023 (from the 7.6-percent growth recorded in 2022).”
“Public investment and private spending fueled by low unemployment rate, sustained increase in remittances from Filipinos overseas, and buoyant services including tourism will support growth,” Ramachandran said in a statement. INQ