DBM: 2024 budget's unprogrammed funds are just 'standby appropriations' | Inquirer News

DBM: 2024 budget’s unprogrammed funds are just ‘standby appropriations’

By: - Reporter / @JMangaluzINQ
05:21 PM January 03, 2024

2024 GAA: 2 provisions vetoed by Bongbong Marcos – Palace

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos signs the 2024 General Appropriations Act in Malacañang on Dec. 20, 2023. The bill contains the P5.7-trillion national budget for 2024. Congress leaders are looking on. (File photo from RED SANTOS / Office of Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri)

MANILA, Philippines —  The unprogrammed funds in the 2024 national budget are merely standby funds outside the regular allocations.

Department of Budget and Management (DBM) made the explanation in a statement on Wednesday.


Its statement comes, after Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said the additional P449.5-billion unprogrammed funds in the General Appropriations Act was a “constitutional infirmity.”


He said Constitution does not allow Congress to add budget beyond what was recommended in the National Expenditure Program.

In response, DBM said the unprogrammed funds are only meant to give government additional money in case of unexpected events.

“Allow us to emphasize that unprogrammed appropriations are standby appropriations, outside the approved government fiscal program, which serve as an important tool for the government to address unforeseen expenditures and prioritize essential programs and projects,” DBM said.

“It is not included in the P5.7676 trillion FY (Fiscal Year) 2024 National Budget by Appropriation Source, given that it refers to standby appropriations that are also proposed for legislation and to be authorized by Congress,” it added.

DBM further noted the unprogrammed funds are not automatically allocated.

It said the funds will only be released under certain conditions.


One condition is if government exceeds its tax collection targets.

“Should there be new or excess revenues that may trigger the availability of the unprogrammed funds, government agencies are required to submit the necessary documentary requirements before access to the standby funds is given,” DBM said.

“Such conditions ensure that spending stays within allowable limits,” it added.

Lagman, however, pointed to Article VI, Section 25 (1) of the Constitution.

This portion declares “Congress may not increase the appropriations recommended by the President for the operation of the Government as specified in the budget.”

“The form, content, and manner of preparation of the budget shall be prescribed by law,” the Charter stated.

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Lagman is deciding whether or not to question in Supreme Court the increase in the unprogrammed funds of government budget for the current year.


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