Philippine national budget 2024

DOT wants more funds after proposed tourism budget cut by 80%

Lance Spencer Yu

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DOT wants more funds after proposed tourism budget cut by 80%

SECRETARY. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco speaks with various stakeholders and tourism regional directors during the 2022 Philippine Tourism Satellite Accounts and Tourism Statistics Dissemination forum at the Philippine International Convention Center on July 5, 2023.


Congress isn’t too keen about the cut either, with several lawmakers saying that they would request for a budget increase at 'the appropriate time'

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is requesting for more money after its proposed budget for 2024 was reduced by 80%, down to just P2.99 billion. 

In a House budget briefing, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said that her department initially requested for a budget of P15.3 billion, which includes P8 billion as part of the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP). 

“For the record, Mr. Chair, originally, the Department of Tourism had proposed a budget of P15.3 billion to the Department of Budget and Management to include the TRIP’s proposal,” Garcia said on Tuesday, August 15.

Even without the allocation for TRIP, the proposed amount remained over P7.3 billion – which meant it was still a more than 50% drop. The 2024 budget is also about 20% lower than the previous year’s budget of P3.7 billion. 

Here’s the current breakdown:

  • DOT Office of the Secretary – P2.6 billion
  • National Parks Development Committee – P252.8 million
  • Intramuros Administration – P76.0 million
  • Philippine Commission on Sports Scuba Diving – P14.6 million

Congress isn’t too keen about the cut either. Several lawmakers – including Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Representative Rufus Rodriguez, and Manila 6th District Representative Bienvenido Abante – all opposed the budget reduction and said that they would request for an increase at “the appropriate time.”

“We have a total receipt of P1.87 trillion coming from the tourism industry. [The] tourism industry [employed] about 5.35 million people, and it contributes about 6.2% to our gross domestic product. And it’s really frustrating – not only frustrating, but really, I think, unacceptable – that the budget is even reduced from its 2023 budget,” said Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Faustino Dy.

Deputy Minority Leader Bernadette Herrera also said that the decrease was “really unwarranted” since tourism hasn’t even returned to pre-pandemic levels. To support this, she cited the number of international visitors in 2023, which stood at just 3.4 million – still far away from the 8.6 million tourists in 2019.

What about TRIP?

TRIP, which was started in 2015, is a joint program between the DOT and Department of Works and Highways (DPWH). The purpose is to build, improve, and maintain access roads leading to declared tourism destinations.

Aside from raising the budget of the DOT to the previous year’s level, Romblon District Representative Eleandro Madrona also wants Congress to “seriously consider adding or restoring the requested P8 billion for the TRIP,” which he and other lawmakers have said were crucial in drawing tourism in their regions.

However, note that the funds for TRIP hasn’t been cut from the national budget entirely. For 2024, the DPWH has P13.97 billion allotted for the program. This is significantly less than the P17.7 billion allocated for TRIP in 2023.

From 2016 to 2022, the DPWH has constructed more than 3,800 kilometers of roads to tourist attractions, according to a report by BusinessMirror. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.