File photos of Malacañang and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM)

Manila, Philippines — In a momentous historical event, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has unveiled an unprecedented 2024 National Expenditure Program (NEP) before Congress. This visionary budget proposal, totaling P5.768 trillion, showcases a remarkable 9.5 percent surge from the previous year’s allocations, symbolizing the government’s unwavering dedication to propelling the Philippines towards a prosperous future.

President Marcos stressed that the significance of the approved budget cannot be underestimated, as it aligns seamlessly with the far-reaching Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028. At the heart of this comprehensive plan lies the ambition to bolster the nation’s capabilities, protect purchasing power, and stimulate growth in vital sectors, creating high-quality employment opportunities and fostering the competitiveness of local products on the global stage.

These ambitious strategies are fortified by an enabling environment, characterized by essential pillars such as macroeconomic stability, state-of-the-art infrastructure development, streamlined bureaucratic efficiency, upholding the rule of law, and a concerted commitment to effective climate action.

Image source: MANILA BULLETIN Official Facebook Page

Expense Class and Allocation:

The proposed budget has been thoughtfully allocated across various expense classes to meet the diverse needs of the government. At the forefront is the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE), which commands the largest portion, making up 37.4 percent (P2.156 trillion) of the budget. This crucial allocation supports the day-to-day operational requirements of government agencies, facilitates program implementation, and extends subsidies to government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), as well as local government units (LGUs). Furthermore, it encompasses priority initiatives in education and social welfare, highlighting the government’s commitment to enhancing public welfare and education.

Personnel Services (PS) is another significant allocation, amounting to P1.695 trillion. This portion is dedicated to the salaries, benefits, pensions, allowances, and other forms of compensation for government officials, employees, healthcare workers, and retired military and uniformed personnel. Recognizing the importance of a motivated and well-remunerated workforce, this allocation aims to ensure that those serving the nation are properly supported and valued.

Capital Outlays (COs) receive a substantial portion of P1.264 trillion, reflecting the government’s emphasis on infrastructure development. With a focus on major road and transport programs, as well as the implementation of Marcos’ Build Better More initiative, the government aims to bolster the country’s overall infrastructure and promote economic growth and development.

Lastly, the Financial Expenses category represents the smallest share at P670.5 billion. Although relatively smaller, this allocation plays a critical role in covering various financial charges incurred by the Government for asset ownership or rent. It includes supervision/trusteeship fees, interest expenses, guarantee fees, bank charges, commitment fees, and other financial obligations, ensuring responsible financial management and accountability.

Image source: Bong Go Official Facebook Page

Sector Allocations:

In the grand budget scheme, the social services sector claims the lion’s share with a hefty P2.183 trillion, accounting for 37.9 percent of the NEP. This all-encompassing sector takes care of crucial aspects like health, education, culture, manpower development, social security, welfare, and employment, prioritizing the well-being of the nation’s people. Remarkably, compared to the previous year, this sector sees an impressive increase of P178.7 billion, marking an 8.9 percent growth.

Following closely, economic services stand strong, covering communications, roads, transport, agriculture, agrarian reform, and trade and industry, claiming a significant portion of the budget pie at 29.6 percent (P1.709 trillion) of the NEP.

General public services secure their fair share, with P893.3 billion dedicated to funding general administration, public order and safety, and various governance and regulatory services, ensuring the smooth functioning of the government and its institutions.

To alleviate the burden of debt, a substantial allocation of P699.2 billion is set aside for interest payments on the national government’s domestic and foreign debt, prioritizing financial stability.

Additionally, P28.7 billion is earmarked for net lending, reflecting the government’s commitment to supporting necessary projects and investments that can positively impact the nation’s growth.

The Defense Sector receives a notable allocation of P282.7 billion, representing an impressive 21.6 percent increase from the previous year. This investment aims to bolster defense programs and actively participate in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission, guaranteeing domestic security and peace on a global scale.

Photo from President Bongbong Marcos Jr. Official Facebook Page

Recipient Units:

In the proposed budget, the lion’s share goes to National Government Agencies (NGAs), amounting to a substantial P3.866 trillion, making up 67 percent of the total expenditure program. This significant allocation is intended to support the implementation of essential programs and projects across various departments and agencies.

For Local Government Units (LGUs), a sizable budget of P1.008 trillion is allocated, with a notable portion earmarked for the National Tax Allotment (NTA) totaling P871.4 billion. Additionally, the LGU allocation includes P80.6 billion specifically designated for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

One remarkable addition to the budget is the Marawi Siege Victims Compensation Program, with a dedicated P1 billion set aside to offer tax-free compensations and/or reparations to eligible claimants who suffered property and possession damage during the 2017 Marawi Siege.

Government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs) receive a substantial funding of P222.5 billion to finance priority programs and projects, focusing on areas such as the National Health Insurance Program, irrigation, housing, electrification, and rice buffer stocking.

Lastly, the allocation of P670.5 billion is specifically designated for interest payments on the government’s domestic and foreign debt, ensuring that all financial obligations are duly met.

Image source: President Bongbong Marcos Jr. Official Facebook Page

President Marcos expressed hope that Congress will approve the proposed 2024 National Budget, underscoring its significance in realizing the government’s transformative vision for the country. As the nation embarks on a new era of growth and development, the budget serves as a pivotal instrument in building a brighter future for the Philippines, uniting one nation and one people in their journey towards prosperity.