Marcos signs P5.768-T spending law for 2024 | Inquirer News

Marcos signs P5.768-T spending law for 2024

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:42 AM December 21, 2023

President Marcos chats with lawmakers before signing the P5.768-trillionGeneral Appropriations Act for 2024. marcos spending law

FUNDS LOCKED IN President Marcos chats with lawmakers before signing the P5.768-trillion General Appropriations Act for 2024.—MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

President Marcos on Wednesday signed into law Republic Act No. 11975, or the General Appropriations Act of 2024, that appropriates the national government’s P5.768-trillion budget for next year.

“We are signing the renewal of our annual social contract with taxpayers that what they have paid faithfully will be rebated to them in full,” Mr. Marcos said, adding that the spending law would fund “the elimination of problems that we as a nation must overcome.”


The President, however, made no mention of the P449.5-billion “unprogrammed appropriations” that lawmakers inserted during the bicameral conference on the budget bill, even if the executive department did not ask for such funds.


Despite a constitutional provision barring Congress from increasing the national government’s budget beyond the amount requested by the executive department, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman argued that the P449.5-billion insertion was not unconstitutional.

Unprogrammed funds

“Unprogrammed funds have triggers. It can only be released if you have additional revenues,” Pangandaman said after the signing of the law. “So I don’t think it’s unconstitutional. I think that is also the stand of [the President].

The Inquirer tried to get a copy of the signed law on Wednesday to ascertain how the provisions on the P449.5-billion insertions were worded, but Malacañang had yet to release a copy of RA 11975.

Mr. Marcos himself, however, did not mention the congressional insertions, even when he said that the 2024 budget is not enough to fund his administration’s plans for the country fully.

“I will be the first to dispel any claim that this budget fully funds all our plans for our country and our people. How I wish that we could wipe out with one budget cycle all our infrastructure backlog. How I wish we had ‘unli’ revenues to realize our country’s limited unlimited potential,” he added.

Marcos reminded the government agencies to spend their respective budget appropriations “for the correct purposes, the right way, on time, and on budget.”


‘Battle plan’

“I say this to remind those who will execute this budget that red tape, at least to underspending and overspending that disregards legal guardrails, are two sides of the same coin. Implementation delay and illegal deviations inflict the same havoc of denying the people the progress and development that they deserve,” he said.

The President said next year’s budget “tells how the taxes paid by the people will be returned to them.”

“It details our battle plan in fighting poverty and combating illiteracy, in producing food and ending hunger, in protecting our homes and securing our border, treating the sick, keeping our people healthy, creating jobs and funding livelihoods,” he said.

This budget, when translated to projects such as building roads, schools, and hospitals, would transform the country for the better and the lives of Filipinos for the better, he said.

The President explained that “like any government, we are curtailed by what we can collect, by what our tax coffers contain.”

“We can be reckless— take the easy path, borrow, and let our children pick today’s tab up tomorrow,” he said.

“But debt is not the kind of inheritance that we want those who will come after us,” he added.

“Good government dictates upon us the duty to spend the appropriations we have cobbled together for the correct purposes, the right way, on time and on budget,” he said.

He reminded government officials that delay in the implementation of projects would be unacceptable.

“So with this reminder comes with the most important budget commandment that we must all must heed: We are working for the people, not for ourselves. We are working for the country, not for ourselves,” he added.

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READ: Marcos signing 2024 nat’l budget a ‘timely gift’ — DBM

TAGS: 2024 national budget, budget, Marcos

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