By Gabriel Pabico Lalu, August 2, 2023; Inquirer.Net

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives on Wednesday received from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) the proposed P5.768 trillion national budget for 2024, and the early word from the agency revealed it is almost 10 percent bigger than 2023’s.

DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman formally submitted the 2024 National Expenditures Program (NEP) to Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in a ceremony held nine days after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. delivered his second State of the Nation Address.

Initial information from the DBM showed that the proposed budget is 9.5 percent higher than the P5.267 trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) or the enacted budget for 2023.

As mandated by the 1987 Constitution, the education sector gets the highest allocation in the proposed 2024 national budget with P924.7 billion, which is higher than the P895.2 billion approved in the 2023 GAA.

Public works or infrastructure programs get P822.2 billion in the proposed 2024 national budget, which is lower than 2023’s P894.2 billion.  Allocation to health also decreased from P314.7 billion in the 2023 GAA to P306.1 billion in the 2024 NEP.

But proposed appropriation for defense increased in the 2024 NEP to P232.2 billion from P203.4 billion in the 2023 GAA. Budget shares for transportation (P106.0 billion to P214.3 billion) and social welfare (P199.5 billion to P209.9 billion) likewise increased under next year’s proposed NEP.