BY THE NUMBERS: The proposed 2021 national budget
MANILA, Philippines – The budget season has officially started with both houses of Congress kicking off a series of deliberations to scrutinize the country’s spending plan for the coming year.
INQUIRER.net breaks down the proposed P4.506 trillion national budget for 2021, based on documents provided by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said the proposed national budget for 2021 is at P4.506 trillion, which is 9.9 percent higher than the 2020 budget and is 21.8 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).
When Avisado submitted the budget to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in August, he said the proposed focuses on government spending on improving the country’s healthcare systems, ensuring food security, creating more jobs by investing in labor-intensive projects, enabling a digital government and economy, and helping communities cope.
The theme of this year’s budget, Avisado said, is “Reset, Rebound, and Recover: Investing for Resiliency and Sustainability.”
“The imposition of community quarantine has had a significant impact on the economic and social activities in our country while our healthcare sector continues to struggle against the pressure of the pandemic,” Avisado said when he submitted the proposed national budget to House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
“We, in government, must be able to effectively respond and with the fiscal year 2021 National Expenditure Program (NEP), we hope to fully address the impact of the health crisis and accelerate our economic recovery,” Avisado said.
Allocation by department
According to documents provided by the DBM, government offices in the education sector got the highest allocation at P754.4 billion which is higher than the P650.2 billion allocation for 2020.
This budget covers the Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and the state universities and colleges across the country.
This was followed by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) at P667.3 billion; the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at P246.1 billion; the Department of National Defense (DND) at P209.1 billion; and the Department of Health (DOH) at P203.1 billion.
Other agencies among the top 10 departments with the highest budget allocation include the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) at P171.2 billion; the Department of Transportation (DOTr) at P143.6 billion; the Department of Agriculture (DA) at P66.4 billion; the Judiciary at P43.5 billion; and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) at P27.5 billion.
Among the notable agencies outside the top 10 is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) which has a proposed budget of P20.162 billion. Some lawmakers in the House of Representatives have expressed interest to augment the trade and industry department’s budget proposal.
Breakdown per sector
Under the proposed budget, the social service sector will get the biggest chunk of the 2021 budget pie with an allocation of P1.663 trillion followed by economic services, the allocation of which stands at P1.347 trillion.
Spending for general public services is pegged at P724.2 billion under the proposed budget. Meanwhile, P560.2 billion will go to the government’s “debt burden.”
The defense sector has the lowest allocation with P2106 billion under the proposed budget.
RESET: Addressing the pandemic
To address the effects of COVID-19, the national government has earmarked a total health budget of P203.1 billion for 2021.
The said amount is expected to fund COVID-19 response strategies and programs “that are consistent with the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act.”
Below is the breakdown for the proposed budget for the health sector:
- National Health Insurance Program (PhilHealth) – P71.4 billion
- Medical assistance to indigent patients – 17.31 billion
- Human resources for health – P16.6 billion
- Provision for COVID-19 surveillance – P51.56 million
- Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP) – P4.8 billion
Also included in the proposed health budget are allocations for the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) sets amounting to P2.7 billion and GeneXpert Cartridges at P1 billion.
The government is also setting aside P2.5 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.
REBOUND: Reviving infrastructure development
Of the P4.5 trillion proposed national budget, the executive department has earmarked P1.107 trillion for infrastructure programs.
Of the amount, over P342.4 billion worth of projects will be implemented by the Department of Public Works and Highways while P122.7 billion is allocated for the Department of Transportation as funding for rail and public transportation as well as maritime infrastructure.
The national government, meanwhile, proposed an allocation of P21.4 billion for the Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative.
RECOVER: Adapting to the post-pandemic life
The national government has allocated funds for various sectors with the end goal of adapting to the post-pandemic life.
For instance, to help micro, small and medium enterprises in the country, P2.28 billion is set aside for the MSME Development Program and another P1.5 billion is allocated to the Pondo Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-Asenso Program or P3.
For the industry and services sector, P510 million is given to the Industry Development Program of the DTI and some P6.27 billion is allocated to TESDA for its various skills development programs.
In terms of social services, P113.8 billion is allocated to the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, P23.19 is allocated to the Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens, P12.03 billion for financial assistance for individuals and families in difficult circumstances, P4.27 billion for the Sustainable Livelihood Program, P3.70 for the Supplementary Feeding Program, and P2.20 billion for the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Program.
In the education sector, P47.12 billion is set aside for the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education and another P27.99 billion will serve as education assistance and subsidies for students.
Other programs with allocated funding in the education sector include the DepEd’s computerization program, the school-based feeding program, and the Alternative Learning System (ALS).
In the labor and migration sectors, P11.14 billion is allocated to DOLE’s Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, and P2.50 billion for the Overseas Workers and Welfare Administration’s (OWWA) COVID-19 Adjustment Measure Program.
For overseas Filipino workers, P6.15 billion is allocated to the DOLE-OWWA for its repatriation efforts and P50 million is given for its reintegration services for OFW returnees.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is also given P19.13 billion.
Cayetano has previously expressed hopes that the 2021 national budget would be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte by the first week of December.
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