The P5.768 national government budget for 2024 will be funded by local and foreign borrowings amounting to P2.46 trillion, a legislator said on Tuesday.
Marikina Rep. Stella Quimbo, vice chairman of the House of Representatives committee on appropriations, said the borrowings will constitute 43.32 percent of next year’s national government budget.
The remaining more than 56 percent will come from revenues generated locally by the Customs and Internal Revenue bureaus and other agencies involved in revenue generation.
“From borrowings, it would be P2.46 trillion,” Quimbo said during the plenary deliberations on the proposed national government budget.
She said next year’s spending outlay sets aside resources for programs critical in accelerating the nation’s growth.
The House is set to approve the national budget on final reading before it adjourns on September 30.
The country’s sovereign debt reached P14.24 trillion in July, the Bureau of Treasury said earlier.
The Congressional Policy and Budget Research Department (CPBRD) noted in its report the country’s debt burden is growing faster than the overall budget increase, and that more than 50 percent of the 2024 budget can no longer be allocated for productive expenses.
While the national government’s expenditure program has been steadily going up, the rate of its increase is much slower than the growth of the debt burden since 2021, the CPBRD said.
Since 2016, the Philippines has more than doubled its debt as it sought to finance big-ticket infrastructure projects and fund its pandemic response.
House committee on appropriations chairperson Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co said next year’s national expenditure program was crafted to support post-pandemic recovery and shield the economy from external headwinds and inflationary pressures.
“Post-pandemic recovery continues to be budget’s main focus, while aiming towards the promised future of an inclusive and sustainable economy,” Co said in his sponsorship speech of the National Expenditures Program of 2024.
Co said the timely passage of the money measure at the House will “allow senators ample time to craft its version of the budget and get a final version signed by President Marcos into law before Christmas Day,” he added.
For his part, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said he wants to tighten the national budget’s provisions on confidential and intelligence funds to ensure more transparency and accountability in its use and auditing.
Lagman said there is a need to reword the provision on the CIF.
“We could provide for a special or general provision on the utilization and reporting of confidential and intelligence fund in the general appropriations bill to make [it] more transparent… Congress can do that through the General Appropriations Bill considering that This circular is only an administrative fiat,” he said.
“That is why I am proposing that in the General Appropriations Bill, we provide strict reporting requirements for purpose of transparency in the utilization of confidential and intelligence funds,” Lagman added.