By certifying the 2024 General Appropriations Bill (GAB) as urgent, House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Elizaldy Co said the government is now close to bringing the three legacy projects of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to the public.
Co said next year’s national budget is anchored on the President’s rallying call titled “Agenda for Prosperity: Securing a Future-Proof and Sustainable Economy,” whose key priorities include programs for health, housing, and food sufficiency.
Co also explained that the 2024 GAB includes P4.020 trillion in programmed general appropriations, P281.9 billion in unprogrammed appropriations, and automatic appropriations of P1.748 trillion for support of government initiatives already sanctioned by existing laws, eliminating the need for regular legislative action.
Compared to the current year’s P5.268 trillion in appropriations, the projected budget for the next year is 9.5 percent higher.
Co added that the fiscal year 2024 GAB will place special emphasis on three legacies: legacy specialty hospitals, legacy housing for the poor, and legacy food self-sufficiency.
“The President wants to take care of the health of every Filipino. Because of this, Congress will fund legacy specialty hospitals such as heart and kidney centers and even cancer. Aside from free treatment, our countrymen no longer have to travel far to Manila to get the right and high-quality treatment,” he said.
Under the DOH’s budget, DOH hospitals in Metro Manila as well as DOH regional hospitals and other facilities will be allotted P17.6 billion and P49.8 billion, respectively. The Philippine General Hospital, specifically, will receive a total of P5.7 billion.
“Housing is also included in the President’s Flagship Program. Through the 2024 budget and in the following years, we will continue to fund the Legacy Housing program, more or less a million housing units, until we reach the target of six million low-cost housing units for our poorest countrymen,” he said.
Co said the President also wants to end food shortage the country is currently facing.
“Because of this, Congress will allocate a larger budget for irrigation and agriculture. Our goal is to be self-sufficient or to be a net exporter of rice in the coming years. The key to this is irrigation, fertilizer, seeds, and the right technology for planting,” he added.
Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez announced on Thursday that the House would pass the P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024 on third and final reading next week before Congress goes on break.
“We appreciate President Marcos’ leadership and his prioritization of the national budget. His decision to certify this crucial legislation as urgent reflects his unwavering commitment to the welfare and progress of our nation,” the House leader said.
The Speaker assured the public that the House is committed to a transparent and thorough budget process that adheres to the highest standards of fiscal responsibility.
“We will continue to uphold the principles of accountability, inclusivity, and efficiency throughout the budget deliberations,” the Speaker affirmed.
The certification will enable the House of Representatives to pass the budget bill on second and third readings on the same day.
Upon its approval, the House will forward the appropriations bill to the Senate.
Congress will be in recess from September 30 to November 5.
The expectation is that the President will sign the 2024 national budget in December, marking a crucial step in fiscal planning and execution for the upcoming year.