President to sign 2024 budget on Wednesday — Zubiri

President to sign 2024 budget on Wednesday — Zubiri

By Beatriz Marie D. Cruz, Reporter

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is set to sign his administration’s P5.768-trillion 2024 spending plan this Wednesday, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said on Sunday.

“The budget for 2024 is one of the most progressive budgets that will help uplift the livelihood of the people,” Mr. Zubiri told DZBB radio.

Last Monday, Congress ratified the bicameral conference report on the proposed P5.768-trillion national budget for next year.

Mr. Zubiri said that the ratified budget has been sent to Malacañang for Mr. Marcos’ signature, noting that funding for the Department of National Defense (DND) increased by about P8.4 billion, which included funds for defense equipment.

He also said that P2.8 billion was added under the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which will include the construction of three vessels to be used for navigations in the South China Sea.

“There is an Australian company with a plant in Balamban, Cebu, [who are] also the manufacturers of ships for the Australian navy,” Mr. Zubiri said in Filipino. “They will create the three large boats here [in this plant,] with the hiring of 3,000 Filipino workers.”

Mr. Zubiri added that P2.4 billion was earmarked under the Health department’s Medical Assistance to Indigent Patients (MAIP) program.

The Senate President also assured that confidential and intelligence funds (CIF) have been removed from the budget as more agencies have been requesting for such.

Under the 2024 budget, the education sector has been allocated P924.7 billion, in which the Department of Education (DepEd) will receive P758.6 billion.

The budgets of the Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), DepEd, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and state universities and colleges (SUCs) were increased by almost P30 billion,” Senate Majority Leader Emmanuel Joel J. Villanueva said last week.

The budget for the Department of Trade and Industry increased by about P686 million to boost the country’s domestic production and make local products more globally competitive.

An additional P25 billion was granted to the Department of Agriculture, and P40 billion was set for irrigation projects under the National Irrigation Administration.

Lawmakers also added P1 billion for the development of the Philippine General Hospital, National Kidney Center, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, and National Cancer Center.

The Senate passed a total of 31 measures this year, Mr. Zubiri said. “We passed a lot of bills of national importance.”

Some of the bills that the Senate passed include the Public-Private Partnership act, the Internet Transactions act, and a bill institutionalizing the magna carta for Filipino seafarers.

The Senate also approved the Tatak Pinoy bill, which seeks to link local products to global market chains, and the bill creates a self-reliant defense posture program.

In addition, senators passed on third reading a measure creating land use development infrastructure plan for state universities and colleges, as well as a bill allowing free college entrance examinations.