December 21, 2023
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday signed into law the 2024 national budget. This came more than a week after Congress approved and ratified the proposed spending plan.
Marcos signed the P5.768-trillion national budget in a ceremony held in the Malacañan Palace, marking the second full budget of his administration since 2022.
“Although it is teeming with numbers, this budget is more than a spreadsheet of amounts of a ledger of projects, rather, it details our battle plan in fighting poverty and combating illiteracy in producing food and ending hunger and protecting our homes and securing our border, treating the sick, keeping our people healthy, creating jobs and funding livelihoods,” Marcos said in a speech after signing the 2024 national budget.
“It is wrong to say that the budget merely pays for the overhead of the bureaucracy, it is more than that, it funds the elimination of problems that we as a nation must overcome,” he added.
According to Marcos, the national budget for 2024 includes the means to “boost both the physical and the human capital of the nation” although he likewise admitted that it will not be able to fully fund all the government’s plans for the country and its people.
“I will be the first to dispel any claim that this budget fully funds all our plans for this country and our people,” he said.
“How I wish we could wipe out with one budget cycle all our infrastructure backlogs, how I wish that we had unli[mited] revenues to realize our country’s unlimited potential,” he added.
Several lawmakers and government officials attended the national budget signing ceremony, namely, Senate president Juan Miguel Zubiri and Speaker Martin Romualdez, among others.
Vice President Sara Duterte was not present in the event.
The 2024 budget saw the removal of controversial confidential funds among several civilian agencies including the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education – which are being helmed by Duterte in concurrent capacity.
The removed secret funds were eventually realigned to increase funding for government agencies tasked with safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. These agencies include the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Army, Air Force, Navy, the General Headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Intelligence Coordination Agency, and National Security Council.
READ: Bongbong Marcos may sign 2024 nat’l budget bill on Dec. 20, says Speaker
In total, the national budget for 2024 was 9.5 percent higher than the P5.268 trillion spending plan in 2023.
The education, transportation, and defense sectors received the biggest funding increases for next year.