The Senate and the House ratified the proposed P5.768-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for next year on Monday.
This was after the bicameral conference committee approved the reconciled provisions of the GAA on Monday morning.
Lawmakers wrapped up the reconciled versions of the 2024 budget last December 11 in Makati City.
The bicameral conference committee report on the Multi-2024 General Appropriations Bill was approved by the Senate and House panels led by Sen. Sonny Angara, chairman of the Senate committee on finance and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co, chairman of the House appropriations committee.
Angara and Co were joined by conferees from the Senate panel: Senators Cynthia Villar, Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Ronald dela Rosa; and the House panel: Representatives Neptali Gonzales II, Ralph Recto, Aurelio Gonzales Jr., David Suarez, Stella Quimbo, Marcelino Libanan, Raul Angelo Jil Bongalon, and Manuel Jose Mannix Dalipe.
Angara said the national budget for 2024 aims “to sustain the country’s growth and give the Filipinos hope amidst the current uncertainty” triggered by events such as the recent Marawi bombing.
Meanwhile, Speaker Ferdinand Romualdez said the 2024 General Appropriations Bill “plays a crucial role in realizing these priorities.”
“It is not just a financial document; it is a blueprint for national development and a tool for improving the lives of every Filipino. It will allocate funds necessary for infrastructure projects, educational reforms, healthcare improvements, business development, and agricultural support,” he said.
He added the proposed national budget for next year was crafted “with a vision of inclusivity, ensuring that growth is felt by every sector of society.”
“It will focus on regional development, ensuring that progress is not centered only in urban areas but is spread across the archipelago,” he said.
Co said the core priorities of the P5.768 trillion budget for 2024 remain steadfast: education, healthcare, infrastructure, social services, and social welfare, among others.
“Food, jobs, health, education, and housing—these are the president’s legacy projects to be delivered through the 2024 budget and beyond,” he said.
In addition to the standard budgetary items, Co highlighted three legacy projects aimed at enhancing food security, establishing specialty hospitals, and providing housing for the underprivileged.
He said these projects, backed by President Marcos and Romualdez, represent “key milestones” for the nation.
The lawmaker said the House contingent successfully advocated for budget provisions to bolster food production, aid impoverished and near-poor families, and enhance social and medical services.
Co also commended the removal of the controversial Confidential and Intelligence Funds (CIF), acknowledging the Senate’s support in redirecting these funds to agencies focused on national security.
“We’re also pleased with the removal of the controversial Confidential and Intelligence Funds, which have been the source of corruption. Thanks to our Senate counterparts for supporting our stand to remove CIF and transfer the funds instead to agencies involved in national security,” he said.
With a report from the Philippine News Agency