Duterte signs P3.35-T nat’l budget for 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed into law the 2017 P3.35-trillion national budget.
The signing of the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA) or Republic Act no. 10924, held at Rizal Hall in Malacañang, was witnessed by government officials, lawmakers and business leaders.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the 2017 national budget was the biggest annual budget assembled so far with an 11.6-percent increase from last year’s budget.
“The General Appropriations Act of 2017 is the embodiment of the Filipinos’ clamor for real change and the call for an honest and compassionate government,” Duterte said in his speech during the ceremonial signing in Malacañang.
“Higher than last year’s budget, the 2017 budget of 3.35 trillion pesos, includes the sizeable increase in allocation of infrastructure project, free education for state universities and colleges, universal healthcare, rice allowance for the poor, free irrigation subsistence, allowance for prisoners, pension for war veterans, and centenarians,” he added.
The highest allocation was given to the Department of Education (DepEd) with P544.1 billion.
“These funds will be used to improve the quality of education to the provision and maintenance of basic learning facilities, creation of teaching and non-teaching positions, as well as the provisions of learning resources,” Duterte said.
“Likewise, the allocation for the state universities and colleges will increase by 23.8 (percent) of the total of P58.72 billion,” he added.
The President the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) would get P128.3 billion in 2017, an increase of 15.8 percent from the 2016 budget.
“This annual amount includes P78.2 billion for the Conditional Cash Transfer program. CCT beneficiaries will also receive a monthly rice allowance to ensure that there is food on the table for every Filipino family,” he said.
The chief executive said the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) would be allocated with P148 billion pesos in 2017 for the support for the country’s serious efforts against drugs, which will also help augment the allowances of prisoners and will be allotted for the construction of jail facilities.
The Department of Agriculture (DA), meanwhile, would receive P45.2 billion “for market research and development, credit support services, construction of the farm-to-market roads and more micro enterprises will be supported by the Department of Trade and Industry’s establishment of negosyo centers.”
He added that the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) would also get P2 billion for the farmers.
“Farmers no longer have to pay irrigation fees with the additional [applause] two billion allocated for the National Irrigation Administration,” he said.
The Department of National Defense will be given P137.2 billion for territorial defense, security and stability services.
“We will pursue the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Modernization Program for the maintenance of major equipment, aircraft vessels and increase in ammunition capacity as well as the veterans’ hospitalization benefits,” he said.
Duterte urged government officials to utilize the budget properly.
“Let us work together, utilize government budget for the empowerment of our citizens and for the realization of our focus and aspirations for our country,” he said. JE/RAM/rga