Group chides Congress’s hasty approval of P5.76T 2024 budget
LUCENA CITY — A student group criticized the approval on Wednesday night of the proposed P5.768 trillion 2024 budget by the House of Representatives.
Kej Andres, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) national chairperson, said in a statement that they commented on the budget because of bloated confidential funds, massive travel expenses, “at the expense of the need for more classrooms, health programs, and other social services.”
“They even prioritized vacationing instead of really scrutinizing the budget.” Congress is now set to resume its session on Nov. 6, Andres said.
He said Congress gravely committed the “deadly sin of sloth by its lazy approval of the 2024 budget on its third reading.”
“The body did not even heed the concerns of Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel on why the bill must not be passed immediately without going through necessary procedures,” Andres said.
Andres noted that various sectors have voiced concerns about the P10.1 billion proposed confidential funds, P6.15 billion budget cuts for state universities and colleges, P10 billion budget cuts for the Department of Health, and lack of government aids to marginalized sectors, among others.
The student group vowed to conduct protest actions against the proposed 2024 budget, which was approved by the House of Representatives on the third and final reading late Wednesday night, just before the session was adjourned.
House Bill No. 8980, which contains the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), was approved with 296 lawmakers in the affirmative, 3 in the negative, and zero abstentions.
The House was able to pass the GAB on the same day that the bill was approved on second reading thanks to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s certification of the proposed measure as urgent.
With the approval, the House can transmit the GAB to the Senate on time, allowing Senators to study the proposed budget for a longer period.