DBM calls on agencies to prioritize infrastructure, human capital, food security in budget proposals 

THE DEPARTMENT of Budget and Management (DBM) said the 2024 budget will highlight infrastructure, human capital development, and food security, and urged agencies to prepare their budget proposals accordingly. 

“Priority will be given to shovel-ready infrastructure projects, investments in human capital development, and sustainable agriculture and food security, among others, which will steer the economy back on a high growth path,” the DBM said in its National Budget Memorandum. 

“The National Government shall continue to foster economic and social transformation to address the economic scarring due to the pandemic and to mitigate the effects of high inflation on basic commodities,” it added. 

For infrastructure, the DBM said implementing agencies should prioritize the completion of ongoing infrastructure programs, activities and projects (PAPs). 

“New infrastructure PAPs shall be limited to shovel-ready proposals aligned with the investment priorities (of the government),” the DBM said. 

“In addition, priority will be afforded to infrastructure PAPs that have undergone program convergence efforts and inter-agency collaboration,” it added. 

It said specific investment priorities under infrastructure include transportation and logistics networks, water supply and sanitation, and energy security.  

The DBM said it will also favor proposals to develop human capital, particularly investment in health, education, social protection, and labor and employment. 

“Given that the pandemic had posed threats to the gains in the education and health system, the NG will provide continuous support in prioritizing reforms and investments in health and nutrition, education, and income-earning ability to bring back the country on the right track in accelerating human capital development,” it said. 

The DBM said that priority will be given to food security programs that “strengthen local supply chains by enhancing agriculture productivity and expanding the access of farmers and fisherfolk to markets.” 

“In response to the global food crisis due to, among others, supply chain disruptions, climate risks, and higher energy and fertilizer prices, the government shall ensure that food is available, affordable, and accessible for consumers,” it added. 

It said that the government will address high production costs by improving access to land distribution and climate-proof irrigation, as well as minimizing the impact of high energy and fertilizer prices. 

The DBM also cited other priorities such as enterprise development, research and development and innovation, digital transformation of the government, climate action and disaster resilience, and the transition to full devolution. 

The proposed 2024 national budget has been set at P5.8 trillion, up 10%. – Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson