By Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is expected to sign the proposed 2024 General Appropriations Act (GAA) before he travels to Japan next month, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Tuesday.

“Malamang (Probably),” Diokno said in a Palace briefing, when asked if Marcos could sign the proposed 2024 GAA before his Japan trip in December.

“I was talking to the liaison officer. Na-approve na kasi ang budget (The budget has been approved). So, they will be going to the conference committee by December 1st and so there’s enough time bago umalis si President (before the President leaves),” he added.

Marcos is set to participate in the 50th Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Japan Friendship and Cooperation Commemorative Summit in Tokyo, Japan next month.

The Senate is expected to approve on third and final reading the PHP5.768-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on Tuesday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri earlier said.

Zubiri said Congress is targeting to ratify the 2024 GAB before Dec. 10.

The proposed 2024 budget, equivalent to 21.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), is 9.5 percent higher than the PHP5.268 trillion 2023 budget.

Anchored on the theme, “Agenda for Prosperity: Securing a Future-Proof and Sustainable Economy,” the proposed national budget for next year is framed based on the 8-Point Socioeconomic Agenda and will continue to support the goals of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 of securing a future proof and sustainable vibrant economy.

Along with the agenda for prosperity, the proposed budget also aims to expedite the country’s recovery in a post-pandemic era and transition the country towards a promising future of an inclusive and sustainable economy. (PNA)