Philippine national budget 2024

Marcos seeks P1.4 billion for trips, state visits in 2024 budget

Bea Cupin

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Marcos seeks P1.4 billion for trips, state visits in 2024 budget

STATE VISIT. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. arrives in Malaysia for a state visit, on July 25, 2023.

Presidential Communications Office

The Office of the President is asking for a total budget of P10.6 billion in 2024, of which P1.4 billion would be for 'local/foreign missions and state visits'

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is asking Congress to allocate P1.408 billion for local and foreign missions, as well as state visits, for 2024.

Details of the proposed 2024 budget or the National Expenditure Program were made public on Wednesday, August 2, upon the Department of Budget and Management’s submission of the document to Congress.

The P1.408 billion represents a 58% increase from the P893.87 million the Office of the President asked for “local/foreign missions and state visits” in the proposed 2023 budget. In 2022, or the last budget prepared under Marcos’ predecessor Rodrigo Duterte, the OP asked for P536.48 million for the same purpose.

The item is under the Presidential Executive Staff Services Program of the OP.

In the proposed 2024 budget, the Office of the President is asking for a total of P10.6 billion. An additional P62.3 million would go to Malacañang from automatic appropriations.

Also under the Presidential Executive Staff Services Program, the OP is asking for P124.23 million for “presidential security and close-in functions,” up from the P91.107 million it asked for in the 2023 proposed budget.

Allocations for “management of special events and internal house affairs,” as well as “process and management documents for the President” are also up in 2024. For the “management of special events and internal house affairs,” Marcos is asking for P293.67 million in 2024, up from P264.372 million in 2023.

To “process and manage documents for the President,” Malacañang wants P42.7 million in 2024, compared to the P27 million it asked for in 2023.

Why so much travel?

Flights around the world have been a constant in the Marcos administration, with the President spearheading trips to attend regional summits, and visit key allies.

In just over a year in Malacañang, Marcos has attended the United Nations General Assembly general debate in New York, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summits in Cambodia and Indonesia, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Thailand, the ASEAN-European Union Summit in Brussels, and the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

Marcos has also undertaken four state visits – to Singapore, Indonesia, China, and Malaysia – and an official working visit to the United States for a meeting at the White House. State visits, however, mean that it’s the host country that shoulders the bulk of the visiting head of state or government’s expenses.

Malacañang has yet to host a state visit, although Marcos has extended invitations to practically all world leaders he has met. Marcos, however, has hosted a handful of official visits – by Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

For later this year, Marcos has confirmed that he will be returning to the US for the APEC Summit in November.

Intelligence funds

Similar to the year prior, Marcos is asking for P4.56 billion under “confidential, intelligence, and extraordinary expenses.” That’s over 42% of the OP’s total budget.

Malacañang asked for almost the same amount in 2023. His predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, had also asked for P4.5 billion in intel and confidential funds.

According to the Commission on Audit (COA), intelligence expenses are “related to intelligence information gathering activities of uniformed and military personnel, and intelligence practitioners that have direct impact to national security.”

Confidential expenses, meanwhile, are used for “surveillance activities in civilian government agencies that are intended to support the mandate or operations of the agency.”

While these expenses are still subject to COA’s rules, including an audit and proper documentation, there are layers that protect such funds, as spelled out in a 2015 COA circular.

The 19th Congress is set to deliberate on the proposed 2024 budget. The goal is for the proposal to be deliberated on and approved by Congress then signed into law by Marcos before 2023 ends. –

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.