MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has just signed the P5.768 trillion national budget for the year 2024 on Wednesday.
Marcos stated that the 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA) serves as the government’s strategic framework for tackling issues such as poverty, illiteracy, food security, healthcare, employment, and the overall security of homes and borders in the nation.
“Today, we sign the national budget, the instrument which tells how the taxes paid by the people will be returned to them. In effect, 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,” Marcos said during the 2024 GAA signing.
In the 2024 budget, Congress redirected a significant portion of confidential funds from various civilian agencies, including the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education (DepEd), towards maritime security.
This action formulated the speculation and contributed to rumors suggesting a separation between Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte, as their respective offices experienced a collective reduction of P 650 million in confidential funds. Notably, Duterte was absent during the signing of the budget.
Despite a 9.5 percent uptick compared to the current year’s budget, the 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA) falls short of fully financing the government’s comprehensive plans for the nation, according to the President. Emphasizing the importance of “good fiscal stewardship,” there is a recognition that the national debt should not be further inflated, thereby urging restraint in budgetary allocations.
“We can be reckless – take the easy path, borrow and let our children pick today’s tab up tomorrow. But debt is not the kind of inheritance that we want for those who will come after us. Good fiscal stewardship imposes upon us discipline not to be led into the temptation of bloating what we owe,” he said.
Zubiri on the other hand, mentioned that approximately P10.22 billion in extra funding has been assigned to the government’s security cluster. This allocation aims to enhance defense capabilities and maritime security in response to ongoing Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.
“The plans of President Marcos (include) an Australian company that builds Australian navy ships based in Cebu. They are looking to be awarded this budget for ship construction so we can have Filipinos build the ships that would defend the West Philippine Sea,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, among the sectors that received a greater allocation for next year are transportation, defense and education.
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