Co lauds ‘decisive’ Marcos for not vetoing unprogrammed funds in 2024 budget

Co lauds ‘decisive’ Marcos for not vetoing unprogrammed funds in 2024 budget

/ 04:16 PM December 23, 2023

Co lauds ‘decisive’ Marcos for not vetoing unprogrammed funds in 2024 budget

Rep. Elizaldy Co of Ako Bicol (Photo from official Facebook Page of Rep. Zaldy Co of Ako Bicol)

MANILA, Philippines — Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co has thanked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for being decisive, as the Chief Executive approved the 2024 national budget without vetoing the unprogrammed fund provisions.

In a statement on Saturday, Co said that the unprogrammed funds would help the government’s anti-inflationary measures, by providing social aid to poor families and those categorized as near-poor — or households earning less than P23,000 per month.


READ: New program to assist families through cash aid to continue in 2025 — Romualdez

Marcos last Wednesday signed the P5.768 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA), vetoing just two items — provisions involving the revolving funds of the Department of Justice and the implementation of the Career Executive Service Development Program.


“I salute the president for (being) decisive in approving the GAA budget and sustaining the unprogrammed funds which is an unprecedented 300% increase on anti inflation for our near poor filipino brothers, a truly Christmas Gift to all the Filipino,” Co said.

“Especially the expanded ayuda for AKAP (Ayuda sa Kapos ang Kita) program — a new program for 12 million household Filipinos for near poor Filipino famil(ies) with P23,000 pesos salaries (per month). This year budget is a true budget centered on the 70% Filipinos who are near poor,” he added.

Co said there are other measures that are expected to benefit farmers, by the use of unprogrammed funds.

“We also have anti inflation on rice that would benefit farmers and all the Filipinos that would get cheap rice .  If there (are) excess revenues, the unprogrammed funds would directly benefit our near poor Filipino countrymen,” he said.

“Unprogrammed funds are not new and let’s hope and pray that we have excess revenue so that we can provide more ayuda to our Filipino brothers. It’s for social services, balance from programmed — AKAP, AICS (Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation), free medical assistance, for PH housing, legacy on specialty hospitals,” he added.

Unprogrammed funds, according to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), are standby appropriations which are only triggered when revenue collection exceeds targets. In short, no appropriations are available for projects under unprogrammed funds until a specific agency has savings or if the government asks for loans.


Concerns about the unprogrammed funds came after Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel claimed that the 2024 budget could face legal implications because an additional P450 billion unprogrammed funds meant the budget breached the ceiling set by the National Expenditures Program (NEP).

In this case, the ceiling for 2024 is P5.768 trillion.

Past lawmakers like former senator Panfilo Lacson also expressed concerns over Congress’ preference for unprogrammed funds, warning that it may set a “very bad precedent” if such a practice becomes normalized by Congress in the future.

Lacson also reminded lawmakers that Article VI, Section 25 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that Congress, in crafting the annual budget, should not increase the appropriations recommended by the President.

READ: Lacson wary over rising unprogrammed funds in nat’l budget: ‘Bad precedent’ 

On Thursday, Senator Win Gatchalian shot down claims that the unprogrammed funds could be a source of pork barrel for lawmakers, noting that a pork only exists when Congress does not meddle in the GAA implementation.

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In this case, Gatchalian explained that there is no pork because Congress does not involve itself in the implementation of the budget.

READ: Gatchalian says unprogrammed funds in 2024 nat’l budget not pork 

TAGS: Elizaldy Co, GAA

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