MANILA, Philippines – Education, infrastructure, and local governments – these are the top 3 areas of focus of the proposed 2014 budget.
If the budget is approved, the top 3 departments that will enjoy the biggest bulk of the 2014 budget are the Department of Education (DepEd), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), according to the budget department.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad called the budget “comprehensive and forward-looking,” with a focus on the country’s “most urgent development requirement [and] also our long-term growth objectives.”
The allocations are:
– P8.3 billion or a 106% increase from 2013 for learning resources, like textbooks and science equipment
– P44.6 billion or a 77% increase for the construction, repair, and maintenance of classrooms, school facilities, and chairs
– P33.4 billion for flood control projects
– P137.7 for the Transport Infrastructure Program, which will focus on construction and fixing of national roads, bridges, and flyovers
– P14.2 billion for the Tourism Development Program to fix roads in tourist hotspots
– P135.4 billion to improve service delivery and capacity expansion efforts for local government units
– P1.55 billion for the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program, which seeks to help local governments develop roads, community buildings, and capacity
It took longer than usual for President Benigno Aquino III and his Cabinet to finalize the 2014 budget. The proposed budget amounts to P2.268-trillion, 13.06% or P262 billion higher than this year’s budget allocation.
Defense, health, agriculture
Other departments also looking to get a big slice of the budget include the Department of National Defense (DND), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The DND will receive P123.1 billion, P5 billion of which will go to the Armed Forces of the Philippines modernization program.
For the DOH, P21.2 billion has been allocated for Philhealth premiums of poor families, while another P13.3 billion will be used in enhancing health facilities. All this is part of the P87.1-billion budget of the agency, a 45.5% increase from last year.
The DA will also enjoy huge support for its programs, specifically P80.7 billion, P21.1 billion of which will go the country’s irrigation network, P12 million for farm-to-market roads, and P10.5 billion for farmers and fishermen in the poorest provinces.
Abad explained the allocations as “strategic investments in the development of our human capital and our economic services…designed not only to strike at poverty’s root, but also to ensure the continued acceleration of our growth momentum.”
Cabinet secretaries have said the administration is focusing on helping the poor feel the economy’s significant growth.
The final budget will be proposed to Congress on Tuesday, July 23, the day after the President’s 4th State of the Nation Address. – Rappler.com