Defense sector to get P283B in 2024 – Romualdez
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s defense sector will get P282.7 billion to fund land, air, and naval forces defense programs in 2024, Speaker Martin Romualdez confirmed at a security forum on Friday.
In a forum organized by the alumni of the National Defense College of the Philippines, Romualdez said the amount will be 21.6 percent higher than the P203.4 billion allotted by Congress this year.
The P282.7 billion also excludes the P1.23 billion in confidential funds that were realigned to government agencies with specific security and defense mandates, particularly those defending the West Philippine Sea.
The reallocation included P300 million for the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, P100 million for the National Security Council, P200 million for the Philippine Coast Guard for intelligence activities and ammunition, and P381.3 million for the development of Pag-asa (Thitu) Island Airport.
The allocation also includes programs for United Nations peacekeeping missions, among others.
The speaker said the higher allocation demonstrates Congress’ dedication to “maintaining a strong and credible defense posture, one that sends a clear message that we will not compromise when it comes to safeguarding our national interests.”
To safeguard territorial integrity
“A strong defense is not merely a tool for confrontation, but a means to uphold peace, stability, and the rule of law,” Romualdez added.
He said the House of Representatives “fully supports the increased allocation for the defense sector” under next year’s P5.768-trillion national budget “to bolster the country’s capability in protecting its territorial integrity.”
“Our commitment to safeguarding our territorial integrity and ensuring the safety of our citizens remains unwavering. As a nation, we must take proactive measures to enhance our defense capabilities and ensure that we have the necessary resources to effectively protect our sovereign rights,” Romualdez said.
He stressed that the House is fully supportive of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s stand that the Philippines should “continue to assert our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea and that we should defend every inch of our territory.”
“We have enacted legislative measures to ensure that our defense forces are equipped with the necessary resources to face any challenge with confidence and strength,” he added.
Romualdez made the remarks just hours after the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia harassed a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
China blasted a water cannon at a Filipino boat chartered by the military in an attempt to block the resupply mission, which successfully reached Ayungin Shoal.
On Friday, Romualdez called on China to cease its “dangerous intimidations” and “unprovoked acts of hostility” in the West Philippine Sea, and on the international community to condemn China’s actions and to uphold freedom of navigation and the rule of law in the region.