Education gets biggest slice of proposed budgetBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education got the biggest chunk in the proposed P2.006 trillion national budget for 2013.
The proposal, which the House of Representatives received Tuesday, listed DepEd as having been appropriated P292.7 billion. It is followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways with P152.9 billion, the Department of National Defense with P121.6 billion, the Department of Interior and Local Government with P121.1 billion, the Department of Agriculture with P74.1 billion, the Department of Health with P56.8 billion, the Department of Social Welfare and Development with P56.2 billion, the Department of Finance with P33.2 billion and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources with P23.7 billion.
The P2.006 trillion budget is higher by 10.5 percent or P190 billion from this year’s budget and represents the 16.8 percent projected gross domestic product.
Based on a higher growth assumption of 6.0 to 7.0 percent, the President said that the proposed Empowerment Budget was “consistent with the country’s macroeconomic and fiscal aspiration for the next fiscal year and in the medium-term.”
The social services sector will be given 34.8 percent or P698.8 billion of the budget, economic services with 25.5 percent or P511.1 billion, general public service with 17.3 percent or P346.1 billion, debt burden with 16.6 percent or P333.9 billion, while defense is getting 4.5 percent or P89.7 billion.
The government is eyeing to increase target revenues to P1.78 billion while disbursements are seen to increase to P2.021 billion. The deficit target is set at P241 billion, two percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that lawmakers would be given time to go through the proposed budget through “intensive hearings” within the next two months.
Belmonte said that they wanted to start Aquino’s third year in presidency with a duly approved budget at hand.
Cavite Representative Joseph Emilio Abaya who chairs the House committee on appropriations said that the budget calendar has been approved and that they were eyeing to have the budget passed by December 30.
Abad said that in crafting the proposed budget, they kept in mind the need to “encourage more robust and inclusive fiscal growth in the coming year… (and) intensify civic society and grassroots involvement in budget preparations.”
Lawmakers are expected to use the entire August to go over the proposed budget at the committee level.
The budget is expected to undergo plenary deliberation and approval by September and will be sent to the Senate by October.
They expect the 2013 national budget to be signed by officials from the House and Senate by December 12, and approved by the President by December 13, as per the schedule of the House.