#BudgetTracker: How the government spends your taxes

The Rappler Data Team
#BudgetTracker: How the government spends your taxes
Visualize how the Philippine approved budget allocations from 2009 to 2014 looks like

MANILA, Philippines – Have you paid your taxes yet? If yes, then you have definitely earned the right to scrutinize the way government spends your money.

#BudgetTracker is a series on Rappler that will help you do just that. It’s one of the initiatives under #BudgetWatch, a platform on Rappler where civil society groups and government share information and map action plans for a transparent and accountable national budget.

The visualization below shows you how the national budget has been allocated based on the General Appropriations Act (GAA) which Congress approves every year. The GAA reflects what funds government is mandated to spend for the year, but excludes actual releases. The law still allows the president to realign savings from items in the budget to other existing items. 

Some key observations:

  • From 2009 to 2014, the biggest allocations consistently went to local government units (ALGU), debt-service interest payments and basic education. In the 2014 budget, ALGU got 15.1% of the total budget. Debt-service interest payments ate up another 14.8%, while basic education (which includes the Department of Education (DepEd) and the school building program) got 11.8%.
  • The total sum for the education sector in 2014, including higher education and vocational education, came up to P323 billion or 14.2% of the total budget for the year. Budget for the sector increased by over 62% under the Aquino administration, up from P199 billion in 2009.
  • The budget for basic education (DepEd and the school building Fund) increased significantly since 2010, when the Aquino administration assumed office. It grew to P283 billion in 2014 from P171 bill in 2009 – a 65% increase.
  • Agriculture and agrarian reform also got a significant boost under the Aquino administration. While separate funding for the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Program (AFMA) ended in 2009, funding for the program remained – this time tucked under the budget of the Department of Agriculture.
  • From 2009 to 2014, funding for the departments of agriculture and agrarian reform as well as AFMA increased by over 50% – to P89 billion in 2014 from about P57 billion in 2009. 
  • The budget of the Department of National Defense (DND) appeared to have increased significantly in 2011 and 2012 because military pension funds, previously part of the Pension and Gratuity Fund (PGF), were integrated into the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In 2013, this chunk reverted to the PGF.
  • Disregarding the pension funds, the budget for the defense sector still reflects a modest increase under the Aquino administration by about 32% – at P82 billion in 2014 from P62 billion in 2009.
  • Allocation for unprogrammed funds almost doubled under the Aquino administration – P140 billion in 2014 from P76 billion in 2009.

#BudgetTracker is a work in progress.

Initial data for this project came from Kabantayngbayan.ph, a website the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and Open Data Philippines set up to provide developers access to granular budget data. However, available machine-readable budget data range only from 2009 to 2013. Rappler researchers had to encode data for 2014 to make the data visible in this visualization. 

To give the public a better view of budget trends, we aim to expand this graph to include budget data prior to 2009. This, however, requires encoding previous budget data in a spreadsheet format as previous budget data remain in PDF and hard copy.

If you want to volunteer for this project or if you have feedback on how we interpreted this data, please email research@rappler.com

Project Team:

Data visualization & data crunching  – Wayne Manuel

Data encoding & fact-checking         – Raisa Serafica/Loren Bustos/Rey Santos Jr

Creative Direction                              – Emil Mercado

Project supervision                            – Gemma Bagayaua Mendoza


Data sources:

Kabantayngbayan.ph (For CSV files of GAAs from 2009 to 2013)
DBM Website (For the PDF version of the 2014 and previous GAAs)

Related stories:

Visit #BudgetWatch for the latest stories and discussions on the budget process, budget policies and civil society efforts to monitor public resources.


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