Aquino signs P3-T national budget; social services to get largest allocation

QUEZON CITY, Dec. 23 -- The President signed Tuesday the P3.002 trillion 2016 General Appropriations Act (GAA), setting a record for the administration in creating a budget that is vastly different from the budgets that were created before President Aquino’s term.

“With this budget, we have doubled the national budget since 2010 and we are providing the largest sectoral allocation to social services. This budget also caps the administration's record of enacting the budget in time for a perfect six straight times,” said Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad.

Abad said the 2016 GAA, higher by P396 billion (15.2 percent) than the P2.606-trillion 2014 national budget, continues the administration's commitment of focusing on social services that directly benefit individual citizens, such as education and health, both with increased budgetary allocations at P436.5
billion and P128.5 billion, respectively.

Social services, which also cover housing, livelihood and community-driven projects, account for P1.106 trillion (36.8 percent) of the budget, while economic services covering areas such as infrastructure, agriculture, transport and communications account for P829.6 billion (27.6 percent).

General public services will take in P517.9 billion (17.3 percent), while defense and security will receive P129.1 billion which stands as the lowest allocation among sectors at 4.3 percent. Still, the allocation reflects a raise of 11.5 percent from 2015, to address the budgetary needs of AFP modernization, in light of the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes.

Meanwhile, only 14 percent of the budget will go to debt interest payment, the lowest-ever debt payment allocation that the government has set in ten years, further underscoring how the budget favors poverty alleviation through people empowerment.

"For six straight years, the administration consistently focused the budget on programs that have great impact on the needs of the poorest communities, while being aware of the need to ensure that the allocations for services also function as long-term investments towards lasting inclusive growth,” said the budget chief. “A case in point would have to be education, taking on the largest sectoral allocation and marking a growth rate increase of 16
percent.”

According to Abad, for every P100 of the 2016 budget, around P64 will be spent on social and economic services. “This clearly shows how the government is wisely investing on its people, with the foresight of supporting services that will keep serving their needs long into the future,” he said.

The Department of Education led the top ten agencies receiving the largest budget at almost P437 billion. The rest of the top ten departments are: public works and highways (P400.4 billion); national defense (P175.2 billion); interior and local government (P154.5 billion); health (P128.5 billion); social welfare and development (P111 billion); agriculture (P94 billion); transportation and communications (P48.5 billion); finance (P33.2 billion), and;
environment and natural resources (P24.8 billion). (DBM)


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