February 25, 2024

Plenary deliberations on 2024 GAB gets underway

THE House of Representatives on Tuesday commenced Tuesday the plenary deliberations on House Bill 8980 or the P5.768-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) for fiscal year 2024. 

Committee on Appropriations Chairperson Rep. Elizaldy Co (Party-list, AKO BICOL), in sponsoring the GAB which he referred to as “lifeblood of our government,” said that “The budget allows us to fulfill our promises to the people, address their needs, and move our country forward.” 

Rep. Co also recognized the complex nature of budget preparations, as lawmakers need to carefully consider several evolving economic, social, and political factors – balancing of financing priority projects and managing debt, while ensuring long-term economic stability. 

Rep. Co stressed the importance of monitoring the capacity of government agencies to manage and complete their respective projects and programs. “Funds that are not effectively utilized or underutilized lead to the project delays, which hinder critical infrastructure and impede economic progress,” he said. 

The sponsor noted that the 2024 GAB, or House Bill (HB) 8980, is anchored on the theme, Agenda for Prosperity: Securing a Future-Proof and Sustainable Economy. “Post-pandemic recovery continues to be the main focus, while aiming towards the promised future of an inclusive sustainable economy,” he remarked. 

Rep. Co also highlighted that the GAB also has special emphasis on: 1) specialty hospitals; 2) housing for the poor; and 3) food self-sufficiency. 

He then urged his fellow House Members to take proactive steps and join the members of the appropriations panel in coming up with collective decisions and recommendations to facilitate approval of HB 8980.