DBM exec cites priorities under proposed 2024 nat’l budget

By Joann Villanueva

July 25, 2023, 8:46 pm

<p>Department of Budget and Management principal economist Joselito Basilio<em> (Photo grabbed from RTVM video)</em></p>

Department of Budget and Management principal economist Joselito Basilio (Photo grabbed from RTVM video)

MANILA – Social protection, food security and key infrastructure projects will be the priorities under the 2024 national budget, an official of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said Tuesday.

During the post-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Philippine Economic Briefing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), DBM principal economist Joselito Basilio said the proposed PHP5.768 trillion national budget for next year, which will be submitted to Congress in the coming days, is about PHP500 billion higher than this year’s budget.

Basilio said education remains to have the highest allocation, as mandated by the Constitution, at about 15 percent to 20 percent.

This will be followed by the health sector, to finance “accessible and inclusive public health services even to the far regions in the country,” and social protection, to strengthen the administration’s banner programs, such as the food stamps and the Pambansang Pabahay para sa Pilipino Housing (4PH) programs, he said.

Basilio said the social protection programs “would involve improving bureaucratic efficiency and ensuring sound fiscal management.”

He said government spending would lean on the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda that include allocations for the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) programs on rice, corn and high-value crops, and for fisheries would be increased.

“And then, there will be spending on reducing transport and logistics cost because government is determined to maintain high public investments in infrastructure at around 5 to 6 percent of GDP (gross domestic product),” he added.

Basilio said most of the infrastructure projects for investments are road networks and railways that would improve connectivity across the country, as well as social infrastructure, such as school buildings and health centers.

He said public investments in energy-related infrastructure would be boosted by the contribution of the private sector, especially in renewable energy.

“So in the budget, there are no surprises. It is as predictable and as transparent as ever. The 2024 budget aims to walk the talk in the SONA and, we can do that because the government finance is also sound and improving as the President has indicated in his SONA,” he added.

The Constitution requires the submission of the proposed national budget within 30 days after the SONA, which was held on July 24 this year. (PNA)