Addressing Food Sufficiency and Reducing Logistics Costs
In a press briefing held at Malacañang, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) revealed its plans to fortify the public’s purchasing power in the face of mounting fuel prices and recent calamities through the proposed 2024 national budget.
Focus on Food Sufficiency and Logistics
DBM Principal Economist Joselito Basilio outlined the key areas of focus in bolstering the public’s purchasing power.
“The budget is presented with two main important socioeconomic agendas in the near term that are being addressed. Of course, food sufficiency and then next is the reduced logistics and transport cost,”
To ensure food sufficiency, increased funding has been allocated to the Department of Agriculture, including investments in agriculture and agrarian reform.
Streamlining Transport and Reducing Costs
Addressing the issue of logistics and transport costs, the DBM’s plans involve various railway projects and transport system initiatives under the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
These endeavors aim to optimize the flow of goods and services, both within the country and abroad, to mitigate inflationary impacts.
“Iyong railway projects and other transport system projects of the DOTr as well as DPWH are meant to increase (efficiency) and make smoother the flow of goods and services and even of people who market their products…(both) within the country and abroad,”
Encouraging Renewable Energy and Social Protection
The proposed budget also emphasizes renewable energy initiatives, with the goal of encouraging private sector participation and alleviating the burden of growing energy costs.
Moreover, social protection programs are a key component of the budget, with livelihood initiatives specifically designed to aid vulnerable sectors in recovering from the adverse effects of the pandemic and inflation.
“If inflation impacts the vulnerable sectors, we still have social protection programs although nag-decrease siya… the point now is—after the pandemic … for example, the fisherfolks and farmers experienced the negative effects of higher inflation, there are livelihood programs that are meant to make them recover faster,”
Fuel Subsidy Initiatives to Continue
In the same press briefing, DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman reassured the public that fuel subsidy initiatives for the transport and agriculture sectors would continue into the next year.
Under the 2024 budget, the fuel subsidy under the DOTr will remain at Php2.5 billion, the same level as the current year’s budget. Similarly, the fuel assistance program for farmers and fisherfolks under the Department of Agriculture will retain its funding at Php1 billion.
The proposed 2024 national budget reflects the government’s commitment to bolstering the public’s purchasing power amidst economic challenges posed by fuel price surges and recent calamities.
With a focus on addressing food sufficiency, streamlining logistics, promoting renewable energy, and supporting vulnerable sectors, the budget aims to pave the way for economic recovery and stability in the coming year.