P3 trillion: PH's biggest nat'l budget submitted to Congress

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) on Tuesday, July 28, submitted to the House of Representatives the proposed P3.002 trillion (about $65 billion) national government budget for 2016. 

It signals the beginning of Congress' deliberations on the nitty-gritty of the national budget, which reached the trillion-peso mark for the first time.

The proposed amount represents a 15.2% increase from this years's budget of P2.6 billion ($57 billion).

“We set our targets high, but we were able to prove that honest and effective management of public funds leads to real benefits for our people,” said Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.

Social and economic services get the biggest chunk of the budget – P1.1 trillion ($24 billion) and P829 billion ($18.2 billion), respectively. Defense gets P129.1 billion ($2.8 billion).

The Department of Education gets the biggest budget among departments with P435.9 billion or an increase of 15.4% from the 2015 budget.

"We intend to scrutinize it carefully and do our jobs properly," said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

Budget deliberations will begin August 10. Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, assured the public that the committee will pass the budget on time "as we have done in the last 5 years."

The Aquino administration has been able to consistently pass national budgets on time, unlike the previous administration of Gloria Arroyo, which was notorious for re-enacted budgets.

Abad gave assurances that the budget follows the Supreme Court ruling that declared unconstitutional the pork barrel system and some parts of Malacañang's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

Abad said the 2016  proposed budget focuses on 44 priority provinces.

Below is DBM's disaggreggation of the 2016 budget:

SECTORAL ALLOCATION 

DEPARTMENT ALLOCATION 

1. Budget levels include allocations from PGF and MPBF as well as budgetary support to GOCCs.

2. The total for 2016 does not include DOST while total for 2015 does not include DOF.

On Monday, Senator Ralph Recto urged the public to look at the proposed 2016 national budget and the accompanying technical report to get a good idea of the President's achievements and failures.

While the President’s State of the Nation Address was bound to be full of promises, he said, the proposed 2016 budget proves what programs are being readied for the country.

“You may promise many things but the proof that you will do it is in the budget, which is the annual expression of government programs. A program is only a drawing until no peso sign is attached to it,” said Recto in a mix of English and Filipino. – Rappler.com

*US$1 = P45.5