President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led the ceremonial signing of the P5.768-trillion 2024 national budget, calling on agencies to carry out the expenditure program lawfully and to honor the taxpayers who made the next year’s budget possible.
Speaking during the signing ceremony in Malacañang, President Marcos reminded agencies implementing the expenditure program to fight red tape “that leads to underspending and overspending that disregards legal guardrails,” emphasizing further that these are ‘two sides of the same coin.’
“Implementation delay and illegal deviations inflict the same havoc of denying the people of the progress and development that they deserve,” he said.
“So, with this reminder comes the most important budget commandment that we must all receive. We are working for the people not for ourselves. We are working for the country not for ourselves.”
The signing is the renewal of the government’s annual social contract with taxpayers, that what they have paid faithfully will be rebated to them in full.
According to the President, the 2024 national budget details the administration’s battle plan in fighting poverty and combating illiteracy, in producing food and ending hunger, in protecting our homes and securing our border, in keeping people healthy, in creating jobs and funding livelihood.
It is not only intended to pay for the overhead of the government’s bureaucratic operations but also to fund the elimination of problems that the nation must overcome.
And although he wishes to wipeout in one budget cycle all the government’s infrastructure backlog, it is curtailed by what the State can collect and by what the tax coffers contain.
“We can be reckless, take the easy path, borrow, let our children pick today’s tab up tomorrow. But debt is not the kind of inheritance that we want to leave those who will come after us,” said Marcos.
“Good fiscal stewardship imposes upon us the discipline not to be led into the temptation of bloating what we owe. Good government dictates upon us the duty to spend the appropriations we have cobbled together for the correct purposes, the right way, on time, and on budget.”
The P5.768 trillion-General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2024 is 9.5 percent higher than the previous fiscal year, and was crafted to sustain the country’s high-growth trajectory. The administration is expecting a straightforward implementation of the 2024 national budget with the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework, the 8-point Socioeconomic Agenda, and the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 serving as its guide and blueprint.