Social services expected to take up 39% of 2024 budget

AROUND 39% of the 2024 budget will be dedicated to social services, roughly in line with the allocation in the 2023 spending plan, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said.

“Education, health,  and of course, human capital development, that’s on top. This is the social services sector. For 2023, it takes up almost 39% of our budget. More or less, it will be the same for 2024,” Ms. Pangandaman said in a roundtable session with BusinessWorld editors and reporters last week.

She expressed hopes for solid utilization of the social services budget because of the importance of education, manpower development, training, health, and cash assistance to the marginalized.

According to the latest Development and Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) report, the proposed 2024 budget is estimated at P5.8 trillion, up 10% from this year’s budget.

“This proposed budget will continue to provide the necessary funding requirements to support the administration’s overarching goal of economic recovery and prosperity towards inclusivity and sustainability,” the DBCC said.

Ms. Pangandaman said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has asked agencies to prepare their budgets for submission by April 30.

“We’ll have a series of consultations with them. By May 7 or the second week of May, we will have our estimated budget. Our priority is the same with this year- aligned with the eight-point socioeconomic agenda and the Philippine Development Plan,” she added.

The proposed 2024 national budget is due to be submitted to Congress on July 24.

The DBM said that the 2024 budget will prioritize infrastructure, human capital development, and food security.

“Food security will be a focus. The real problem is, we haven’t provided enough funds for (agriculture)… hopefully we can give them more money at least until 2028,” Ms. Pangandaman said.

“Our constitution mandates that education should be the highest priority in terms of budget. That’s an important factor to increase productivity,” she said.

“There was a huge learning loss because of the lockdowns. We will put more funding in the education sector and of course, the health sector. We’ll try to invest more. If there is ever another pandemic or any virus, sickness, disease, then we will be prepared,” she added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson