‘Pork’-less 2015 national budget amounts to P2.6T
MANILA, Philippines — Something’s different in the Aquino government’s proposed P2.606 trillion national budget for 2015 submitted to the House of Representatives on Tuesday.
This is a 15.1-percent increase from the P2.265 trillion approved by the President as budget for 2014.
The proposed budget also represents 18.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product reflecting the target GDP growth of 7 to 8 percent.
It’s now free from funds from the graft-tainted Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) or pork barrel funds, which the Supreme Court (SC) has already struck down as unconstitutional.
The budget will also no longer be a source of savings that may be pooled to other projects, as was the practice of Aquino’s outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that critics say is the source of the president’s “pork barrel.”
That is, if the SC decision is to be followed.
But President Benigno Aquino III in his latest State of the Nation Address (Sona) said the executive would submit a joint resolution asking to define savings after such practice of pooling these unspent funds to other projects not itemized in the budget was declared unconstitutional by the SC.
If savings would be redefined, then government might still continue with its DAP practice despite the SC decision.
The president had also proposed submitting a supplemental budget on top of the P2.265-trillion budget in 2014 to augment the lack of funds for projects stalled due to the court’s prohibition of the DAP practice.
DAP became controversial after Senator Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, now detained for plunder over the pork barrel scam, bared that funds from DAP were used as incentives to senators who voted to convict ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Meanwhile, the PDAF figured in an alleged scam of pouring these funds to ghost projects for kickbacks under the scheme of accused mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles. Three senators and their aides are detained for plunder over the scam.
The breakdown of the P2.606 trillion budget:
Social services – P967.9 billion up from P841.8 billion in 2014
Economic services – P700.2 billion, up from P593.1 billion
General public services – P423.1 billion up from P362.6 billion
Debt burden – P399.4 billion up from P377.6 billion
Defense – P115.5 billion up from P89.5 billion
Social services topped the sector with 37.1 percent of the pie, followed by economic services with 26.9 percent, general public services with 16.2 percent, debt burden with 15.3 percent, and defense with 4.4 percent.
The Department of Education topped the government agencies with the lion share of the budget with P365.958 billion.
It is followed by:
Department of Public Works and Highways – P300.519 billion
National Defense – P144.036 billion
Interior and Local Government – P141.423 billion
Social Welfare and Development – P108.97 billion
Health – P102.178 billion
Agriculture -P88.818 billion
Transportation and Communication – P59.463 billion
Environment and Natural Resources – P21.290 billion
Judiciary – P20.285 billion
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