Senate ratifies P5.768T nat’l budget for 2024
MANILA, Philippines — Before taking a Christmas break this week, senators ratified on Monday the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for next year.
Only Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III voted against the ratification of the 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
Once ratified by both chambers of Congress, the budget measure will be transmitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.
But before senator voted on the GAB, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri made sure that the upper chamber would not get any confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) next year.
“For the record, the Senate has no CIF, correct ? No confidential and and intelligence funds? Zero?” Zubiri asked Senator Sonny Angara.
“None,” said Angara, chairman of the Senate finance committee.
One of the controversial issues in the 2024 budget was the CIF allotted to certain civilian agencies of the government.
This resulted in the removal of confidential funds from agencies like the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education (DepEd) which were given P500 million and P150 million hidden funds, respectively.
The deleted secret funds were contained in the House of Representatives’ version of the 2024 GAB but this was also adopted in the Senate.
While the Senate was discussing the budget proposal for her office next year, Vice President Sara Duterte announced she would no longer pursue her requests for the combined P650 million confidential funds that included the P150 million secret fund for DepEd which she also heads.
The ratification by the Senate came just hours after the congressional bicameral conference committee reconciled differences in the Senate and the House versions of the budget bill.
According to Angara, the increase in the budgets of the following agencies has been retained in next year’s budget: Philippine Army, Air Force , Navy , the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines PNP, the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Department of Justice, including the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine Coast Guard, the National Intelligence Coordination Agency and the National Security Council among others.
The senator mentioned other additional fundings for education agencies as well as the health and agriculture sectors.
“Iilan lamang ito G. Presidente sa mga pinagkasunduan ng inyong bicameral conference hinggil sa pambansang badyet sa 2024,” Angara said when he reported the bicameral report to the Senate.
(These are just a few, Mr. President, of the agreements reached in your bicameral conference regarding the national budget for 2024)
“ Inaasahan namin na makakatulong ang badyet na ito para maabot, sa pangunguna ni Presidente Marcos, ang bagong Pilipinas na pinpangarap ng bawat Pilipino. We are confident that this budget will provide certainty and hope during these uncertain times,” he added.
(We expect that this budget will help, under the leadership of President Marcos, in achieving the new Philippines that every Filipino dreams of. We are confident that this budget will provide certainty and hope during these uncertain times.)